It looks like automated surgery has the potential of outperforming human surgery in the proximal future. At least this is the hope of Dr Peter Kim of project STAR, the head scientist at the Children’s National H.S. in Washington.
Will surgeons ever cease to operate or assist the automated operations? The humans being operated by robots feature from the sci-fi movies is getting closer and closer to becoming reality.
Incredible progress has been made in automated surgery with doctors using many robotic tools like the ones in the Da Vinci system, and the STAR suture robot surgeon is a promising new lead into automated surgery.
The innovators at Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute have invented a suturing automated robot called STAR. The name is an acronym for Smart Tissue Automated Robot, and it works mainly as a surgical sewing machine.
Scientists have equipped the robot with imaging technologies, night vision and sensors and programmed it to calculate suture tension, distance and speed. A number of experiments with controlled groups of surgeons and various types of surgery were ran to test the robot’s capabilities.
The latest test, where the robot autonomously operated the suture of a living pig’s bowels, has proven to be hopeful.
Its automated surgery performance regarding stitching strength and consistency surpassed the human surgery potential. But its efficiency wasn’t all that perfect, taking longer to perform and making suturing mistakes compared with the human surgeons.
The STAR suturing robot clearly needs further development, but this is the first time in the world a robot performs soft tissue live automated surgery. In the future, it will be programmed to do faster, finer, intricate surgical stitching as they prepare it to run in the first human trials.
Sounds scary? I don’t know what others believe, but as long as I’m being cured, I don’t really care if humans or robots are operating on me. And by the looks of it, things are under control.
But what do you think? Will we live to enter an operating room, hopefully for minimal invasive surgery and be operated by robots? And if so, will the automated surgery be completely automated in the future? The scientific and technological innovations and discoveries are surely leading us towards that direction.
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