The University of Calgary's Dr. Garnette Sutherland wins Top Space Station Research Awards of the Year for neuroArm

neuroArm uses robotic neurosurgery born from the technology behind Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre

July 17, 2013—Dr. Garnette Sutherland of the University of Calgary was one of three individuals recognized by the International Space Station (ISS) program in recognition of outstanding results on advancing neurosurgery through Space Technology through neuroArm. The project was named a Top Medical Application from the International Space Station for 2012.

A team led by Sutherland at the University of Calgary, along with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), developed NeuroArm based on the Canadian Space Agency's Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic space station technology. This robotic tool provides precise, dexterous and tremor-free assistance with life-changing surgical aid for cancer patients with complex brain tumors. It also is MRI compatible, allowing surgeons to operate with greater accuracy while viewing real-time imagery.

"This translation of technology enables us to make the best use of research and development resources by finding solutions to medical problems in technological advances from aerospace," said Sutherland.

Sutherland considers the honor a nod to the collaborative efforts that were necessary to develop this image-guided robot for neurosurgery.

"I would like to express my gratitude for the honor of winning the award and really emphasize that neuroArm was created through a community effort," said Sutherland.

"From the philanthropists and funding bodies who make research possible to the interdisciplinary teams of engineers, scientists and surgeons who build and test the technology, it takes many people working together to achieve a technological innovation of this magnitude," continued Sutherland. "This award also recognizes the creativity required to translate technology developed specifically for one field—space—and apply it into an unrelated field in a unique and practical fashion; our project has successfully brought Canadarm and [Dextre] technology into the operating room."

-With material courtesy of NASA's ISS Program Science Office