Everybody already thinks that robot surgeryis way cool, but I suppose there’s no harm in taking a few minutes to show off the precision that tiny little robot grippers are capable of. On the other end of these steely claws is an even steelier-eyed surgeon with a questionable amount of aeronautical experience, and in between the two is a da Vinci surgical system. This particular robot hails from Swedish Hospital in, you guessed it, Seattle.
The da Vinci system, if you recall, provides surgeons with an interface that allows them to control little robotic hands with their own (much larger) hands, enabling much finer control in a much tighter space. For patients, this means smaller incisions that heal faster, and for surgeons, it means no more going elbow deep into someone else’s guts.
I do feel obligated to point out that depending on your definition of robot, the da Vinci system may not qualify as one, in that it doesn’t have much of an autonomous component: all of those motions are controlled directly by the surgeon using a master/slave system. However, robots with actual autonomous surgical capabilities aren’t that far off, and now that we’ve seen demos of robots autonomously sucking your blood out and autonomously taking biopsies on simulated turkey prostates, it’s just a matter of time before you start having to choose your surgeon based on whether it’s running Windows or Linux.