Cambridge Medical Robotics (CMR) has developed a next-generation robotic system designed to assist surgeons for minimal access surgery. For many, it may not be a comfort to think of a cold, unthinking robot performing surgery on them; however, keep in mind that robots are able to act with much more precision than the average human. And of course, there is always a long testing stage—and they also won't be flying entirely solo (at least, not yet).
Also, although it may be a little unnerving, similar robotic systems are already in operation in hospitals around the world. See a robotic surgery demonstration using an early model of the Da Vinci Surgical System in the video below (note: this was produced in 2012).
The Cambridge prototype features several collaborative robotic arms that mimic a surgeon’s movements and is versatile enough to be repositioned for numerous delicate procedures inside a surgical theater.
The system includes 3D high-definition imaging technology and has force feedback that is meant to allow it to assist surgeons with comfort and ease. It also has a fully maneuverable wristed system. But perhaps most notably, robotic minimal access surgery may be more affordable than other competing technologies or methods. And while robots may be an expensive one-off fee, it is far easier to pay or a robot's operational costs than to pay for that of a human, which is precisely why automation took over during the industrial revolution.
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In a press release, medical director Mark Slack stated his views regarding, what he feels is, the inevitable robot takeover: "Within the next decade I believe versatile surgical robotic systems will become a standard feature in operating theatres and a critical extension of the modern day surgeon.” Indeed, the technology is unique given its versatility and its accessibility, making it a valuable addition to the surgical robotic market as it allows more surgeons to deliver keyhole surgical procedures to more patients.