Video demos Intuitive Surgical robot dexterity -- using origami
Intuitive Surgical is a California-based company that makes teleoperated robots for minimally invasive surgery. Using a remote haptic interface, a surgeon can perform surgery using the robotic interface while small end effectors do the actual work inside a patient across the room (or on another continent). These interfaces are incredible -- they give the operator a lot of feedback for accurate control, and at the same time filter out the slight shakiness inherent in even the most steady of human hands. Children's Hospital Boston has become one of the foremost users of the DaVinci robot, with a great overview here.
This video of one of the robots creating an origami crane really wowed me -- be sure to watch it all the way through for the last few seconds. It's a great demonstration of how capable this technology is.
As a side note (and a little bit of a plug), anyone attending the Boston FIRST Regional on March 7th will have a chance to operate a DaVinci robot (an incredible opportunity) and hear a short presentation by Dr. Hiep Nguyen, Children's head of robotic surgery.