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Watch These Nimble Robotic Arms Perform Surgery On A Grape

Robots are poised to revolutionize surgery, as demonstrated by this astounding—and even touching—promotional video showcasing the da Vinci Surgical System as it sutures a damaged grape.

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There’s a reason these robotic arms’ actions look human-like. Though it’s referred to as a robot, the system can’t move or operate autonomously; a surgeon is 100% in control. The technology is designed to expand a surgeon’s capabilities and make operations less invasive.

Unlike humans, these robotic hands aren’t shaky. The company that designed the system, Intuitive Surgical, says they’re also more flexible, allowing them to fit through smaller incisions.

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The jury is still out on whether robot-assisted surgeries are more effective than ones performed directly by human hands. What’s more, there are some serious liability issues to be sorted out before these systems get rolled out en masse.

[ Popular Mechanics via Motherboard ]

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DISCUSSION

I don’t know who is to blame for calling this great medical system a robot, but blame we must. It is not a robot. It is a modern, purpose-designed extension to a surgeon’s hands and eyes. I kept telling people it was a sophisticated pantograph, but I was wrong; it does not just duplicate the surgeon’s hand movements. It adds degrees of freedom that a human wrist lacks; by putting SW between the surgeon and the business ends inside the patient it eliminates tremor and allows for very small, very definite moves; it provides 3-d vision that is better than even that one has during open surgery [I’m a bit shaky on this last claim]. Bottom line - the collateral damage, outside and inside the patient, is an order of magnitude less severe, and she is up and taking a shower the day after the operation.