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Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'

Fact meets fiction. Per below link... Imagine a UAV ambulance that contains robots to perform full scalpel-and-stitch surgeries on wounded soldiers under battlefield conditions. The surgeons manipulate the robots inside the pod in real time. The "trauma pod" has to keep connected wirelessly without giving away its position to the enemy, and it has to be nimble and hardy enough to perform under fire.

Pentagon Invests in Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'
The article i read said it is at least a decade from deployment .
And of course thats if it is possible to develop.
But it is a Neat Idea .
In an ideal world, where technology always works perfectly, it might just work.

In the real world...well, I wouldn't want to be one of the test subjects.
In the real world, I'd rather not be in the situation where I needed the assistance of a trauma pod. However, if I found myself in the situation where such assistance was warranted, I'd probably rather risk the trauma pod than simply lie there and bleed to death.

However, given the mention of bandwidth concerns for even unlinking it from the current terminal, I really doubt that you can make a teleoperated robosurgeon that won't be pretty obvious to a radio direction finder.
One main problem is that surgery really is a hands-on job, especially the unpredictable wounds you get in combat. You need to be THERE, to see, feel, and even smell it for yourself. You can't get that kind information remotely.

There's also the psychological aspect - when you're sick or hurt you want a real human being looking after you, not R2-D2.
1) You could be happy enough just to hear a human voice. Especially since the pod probably zips you full of drugs pretty quickly.

2) You may find waldos and sensors and VR virtual environments are sufficient at future TL to utterly replace the hands on see,feel,smell. We already accept this for really small or really dangerous work. If it can work for EOD at TL-8, it can work for surgery at TL-11. They're working on VR fully immersive environments for commercial pilots to provide full sensor data synthesis and the prediction is that it will lead to much safer flights once pilots get used to it - they'll have a much richer and less limited display. But they won't be using the Mark I eyeball.

I'm not in a rush to be the first to try computer-brain neural links. But if they perfect them, maybe my grandkids will get a huge boost out of them.
"You may find waldos and sensors and VR virtual environments are sufficient at future TL"

Oh, at TL12, probably. But not TL8.

"If it can work for EOD at TL-8"

AIUI remote EOD is fairly crude.
Originally posted by Andrew Boulton:
"If it can work for EOD at TL-8"

AIUI remote EOD is fairly crude.
I'll agree that TL-8 isn't quite where I'd be happy with an Autodoc. But we're just about TL-9 in many regards and will be by the time this idea sees any kind of fielding. And by TL-10, this might seem a bit simpler. TL-11+? Positively routine.

As to the EOD, the capabilities of the newest generatios of remote EOD systems are kind of impressive. The AI is limited, so they are heavily teleoperated, but the next steps are gradually incrementing AI along with even more sensors and disarmament systems. I've recently seen some current EOD tech - neat stuff, let me tell you. Ways to disable a device that I'd never have imagined working.

Anyway, again, mostly teleoperated now. Probably by TL-9, about 50/50 on AI/teleoperation, and by TL-10+, largely autonomous.

Or so says I. It's my future and I predict great things!
The one big difference i see between the EOD devices and the trauma POD is if the EOD fails you generally just damage property,
But if the Trauma POD fails you are most likely going to lose the patient .
Still a very interesting discussion
Yes and no, Rossthree. A lot of wounds might not require the Trauma Pod to perform the full deal - just stabilize the wounded guy for evac. So that somewhat simplifies the problem.

Don't get me wrong, it is a tougher task than EOD, I'd agree. But still doable, with the right TL. I'm guessing prototypes at TL-9, good working models at TL-10. All bugs out by TL-11.
Good point Laladorn
I had not thought of just stabalizing the patient .
I was thinking more in terms of complex surgery.
I have to admit i like autodocs in my Traveller games .
Can anyone tell me how i can add a symbol on the side of my posts ?
While logged in, go to the top of this page... find the link under the black bar and under the New Topic button titled 'my profile'.... go there.... select edit profile.... partway down, you'll see a place to select an avatar. That should let you do it.
I agree Kaladorn. I read through the article closely and it is not specific about where in the casualty evacuation process the trauma pod might be used. Just because the requirement specifies “hardy enough to perform under fire” – or that it provides a certain amount of survivability - doesn’t really give enough clues to judge where the pod would be used on the battlefield. I don’t think this replaces the first aid and evacuation provided in the first minutes.

Say you are on patrol and shot. The first person to render aid will be a combat lifesaver. Someone in your fire team or squad with a fairly good aid bag ("combat lifesaver bag") which includes pressure dressings and some IV bags and other goodies. (If you can, build enough for everyone to have one.
) Anyway, this guy had a week long course that is a bit better than Red Cross training. If your team isn’t having a really bad day, some vehicle along with an attached medic will show up a block or two away from the shooting. By this time you should have a pressure dressing on and be prep’d for transport. That basically means someone is going to throw you into an empty (or not) space on the vehicle floor while the vehicle fights its way back to the casualty collection point. Doctrine says this should be your task force’s combat trains, but depending on your AOR, the availability of lift, etc. you could just as easily be in base in a full field hospital within thirty minutes. By doctrine, however, you still take another ambulance (hopefully armored) from the task force combat trains back to the brigade support area for evacuation.

To get to my point, it really depends on where the casualty is introduced to the trauma pod. The brigade support area (BSA) has a ‘robust’ medical capability – provided by the forward support battalion’s medical company… but they still only perform triages, initial resuscitation, and stabilize for transport. The BSA only has one or two surgeons and a couple of physician assistants for knife work. The BSA is considered a forward area and subject to fire—hopefully only indirect, but lately a lot of direct fire.

Bottom line, I assume these pods would remain a corps asset but would doctrinally evacuate casualties from the BSA to a MASH or base camp and provide some kind of thoracic resuscitative surgery and treatment for stabilization based on triage. The pod basically keeps him from bleeding out or dying from shock during a fast UAV trip to base. I am guessing, but I think that isn’t necessarily the front line some of you might be envisioning. Someone is still going to pull him to cover and then drive him a “safe” distance away before pod evacuation--maybe 8-10 kilometers under conventional doctrine.
I think some folks are envisioning this as a "dust-off" vehicle, to take him straight to the theater medical support necessary for the wounds sustained by the soldier.

New thought: Could you program a grav-belt to promptly zip a soldier back to a certain point if life signs dropped or showed certain trauma? It would have to be integrated with Combat Armor or BD, I think. (And, no, you wouldn't want it to take you too high, or your front line would become a shooting gallery of "pop-up" targets.
I suspect such a pod may be envisioned as your second line of treatment. The combat lifesaver gets you moved out of the line of fire and gets you to the transport with one of these pods aboard (or the pod itself is transport if it has mobility). The pod stabilizes you, allows early assessment of your injuries, hits you with whatever surgeons at the rear or the AI deems will help get you back in one piece. Then the pod either loads onto a larger transport or evacs you itself to the proper med facilities for your type of injuries - perhaps involving a transfer onto a shuttle headed for a Navy hospital ship in orbit or onto a fast transport between your combat team med-center and the true rear area (to the extent this exists) surgical ward.

The pods may sustain fire evacing you from the hands of the combat lifesaver to the first-line formal medical treatment. This may happen when they are independent or it may happen when they are in transit inside another transport.

The pods may allow some early teleoperated intervention from a surgeon/operator or they may just stabilize. It may also be that with enough AI, the operator gives minimal guidance and the surgical system onboard knows how to do the rest.

But in the end result, I think this is clearly an intermediary stage to getting to final critical care and then into long term recovery.