4. Direct Energy Surgery
“What comes after robots? The next generation, I believe, is something I call direct energy surgery,” Satava said.
It could be intensely focused ultrasound. (Satava showed a research video of a cut blood vessel being sealed with ultrasound inside a living pig.) It could be one of the countless other forms of energy out there. But the point is it could be concentrated to seal an internal wound or ruptured blood vessel or zap a tiny tumor, without ever having to cut someone open.
“This is significant because it allows us to do it noninvasively,” Satava said. “The opportunities are huge if we can control the energy with the information, and this is the direction where we need to go.”
Satava thinks advances in control systems for weapons systems suggest that such controls might be employed to control energy in life-saving surgery.
And it is already possible conduct surgery at the cellular level.
“Richard Feynman was right in 1959: The future is in the world of the small,” Satava said.