It’s not just your phone and laptop that have gotten some killer upgrades over the years — medical devices have also made some mind-blowing advances.

While we’ve been waiting for that robot that will do our exercises for us, science has made some incredible medical devices. Here are three that are keeping us safer and healthier now.

A WALL-E-style disinfecting robot that keeps hospitals safer

Hospital-related infections are an all-too-common problem, as currently about one in 25 patients in the United States has at least one on any given day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s where this R2D2-looking robot, created by Xenex Disinfection Services, comes in at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, CA.

Patient and operating rooms and other areas are cleaned the traditional way (with a bleach solution applied manually), and then the portable robot follows up to zap 99.9 percent of all remaining microorganisms. The robot uses a xenon bulb capable of emitting full-spectrum UV light rays up to 2,000 times brighter than natural sunlight.

A New MRI Machine that may eventually unlock cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was first used in 1977 year and has only gotten better and more detailed since then.

Earlier this year, at the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute in Los Angeles, a 22-ton MRI machine was installed through the building’s roof. The magnet is 140,000 to 150,000 times stronger than the earth’s magnetic field, according to Arthur Toga, MD, director of the institute.

The machine has the ability to show very fine details in brain anatomy and brain physiology, and it has a far greater ability to look at functional changes and spatial resolution in the brain than a traditional magnet, Dr. Toga says. Brain patterns found across these scans — and in thousands taken from across the globe — may help Dr. Toga and his colleagues diagnose and treat debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease more effectively.

Robotic Surgery for quicker recovery

The Da Vinci Surgical System gives doctors greater control in the operating room, helping them perform complicated and delicate procedures. The system’s robotic arm is able to enter the body through a small incision and offers more range of motion and fewer tremors than a surgeon’s hand. The da Vinci has been put to pioneering use at the division of thoracic surgery and has helped doctors perform such procedures as hysterectomies, prostatectomies and heart valve repair.

What this means is a speedier recovery, fewer complications, smaller scars and potentially less blood loss. But no worries, your surgeon isn’t going the way of the dodo — she or he will still be there beside you, manipulating the robot via a high-definition 3-D console.

If you are local to Southern California and are in search of a primary care physician, call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/ to schedule an appointment.

By: Anne Fritz