The field of medicine is continuously evolving and adopting new tools and technologies in order to impact more and more human lives in a positive manner. Among these tools are automation and motion control systems, which now play a vital role in our ability to carry out many medical procedures and processes.
A motion control system is an assembly that comprises components aimed at controlling elements of motion like rotation, translation, speed, and acceleration. These components can include motion controllers, actuators, motors, motorized linear stages, rotary stages, and many others. Ultimately, motion control systems help make many tasks and processes more highly efficient, accurate, and productive, with many even incorporating computer technologies to make automation more straightforward and seamless.
Here are some of the particular areas and disciplines of medicine where motor control systems find important application:
Identifying and understanding diseases begin with intensive research in medical laboratories. In labs, scientists and medical technologists are aided by automation and motion control in many important ways. For instance, the handling and analysis of samples or specimens are made more accurate and efficient with the help of specialized machinery. Automated liquid handling equipment enable such tasks as genomic sample preparation, high-throughput screening, aliquoting, and immunoassays by ensuring precision in the aspiration, motion, and dispensing of liquids. Meanwhile, highly accurate z-focusing is likewise achieved by microscopes with the help of precision XY stages.
Motion control is increasingly being used in surgical procedures as well. Robotics and machinery are now being employed alongside traditional surgical techniques to improve precision and reduce the risk of human error, thus making many operations successful. Moreover, the patient endures less physical trauma and recuperates faster as a result. Robotics are also typically used in situations that are risky for human intervention, such as those that involve the presence of virulent pathogens.
Many vital equipment in hospitals and medical facilities these days—including respirators, air pumps, incubators, dialysis machines, and more—utilize motors and motion control systems. The medical industry demands precision control and reliability because human lives depend on the proper functioning of these devices.
Mobility & Physical Rehabilitation
Differently abled individuals can also enjoy increased freedom of mobility and independence with the help of motor-powered wheelchairs and other devices and equipment especially in the home care setting. Convalescence and physical rehabilitation are similarly made more effective with the help of motorized equipment and exercise machines.
Prosthetics and Biomedical Devices
Prosthetics have definitely advanced from the prototypes of previous decades with the application of such components as micro motors, pneumatics, and hydraulics—resulting in bionic body parts that are almost life-like, as well as powered exoskeletons that are now becoming an extension of the limited human body.
The Future of Motion Control in Medicine
The use of motion control technologies in medical applications has definitely come a long way. The challenge for designers and manufacturers is to continue coming up with components and equipment that meet the tough requirements of the medical industry. Perhaps an ideal manufacturing setup is one where original equipment manufacturers and component manufacturers work hand in hand in order to engineer and create the best, most cutting-edge medical machinery and equipment.