While humanoid, household robots like Tesla Bots and Ameca offer intriguing futures for everyday people, medical robotics have been pushing the field forward for decades. In a new development, a robot surgeon has reached an impressive benchmark of technology.
Via The Guardian, a medical robot has successfully completed the first keyhole surgery without human assistance. But is the robotic doctor more successful than is flesh-and-blood counterparts? (Actually, it's quite a bit better!)
Robot Surgeon completes keyhole surgery
As the first robotic laparoscopic surgery without human assistance, the experiment was a massive success. Performed by a Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), the machine successfully connected intestines in four separate pigs. All were successful.
Laparoscopic surgery is an incredibly difficult procedure to perform. The operation requires a high degree of precision as well as a lot of repetitive movements. For humans, a slight tremor can lead to fatal errors.
One of the robot’s creators, Johns Hopkins University’s Axel Krieger, explained that doctors can now “automate one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in surgery”. Additionally, findings show that the STAR “produced significantly better results than humans performing the same procedure”.
One of the reasons behind the STAR’s efficiency is it’s ability to “plan, adapt, and execute a surgical plan” with little human assistance. Of course, just like self-driving taxis, the robot will still require humans nearby for safety.
A long journey
The STAR robot is not exactly a new invention. However, the impressive technology has been operating since 2016. Of course, this latest success is the result of years of iteration to perfect the device.
In 2016, the STAR did successfully complete surgery on a pig. However, the device had to create large incisions to work as well as require human help. This latest model is much more impressive and self-sufficient.