Medical robotics: Would you trust a robot with a scalpel?
Driverless cars? Google has already wheeled one out. Robo-cops? Prototypes are on the scene. Love-bots? One in six people say they would have sex with an android. It might seem like a solution dreamed up by Aldous Huxley, but it’s already a reality. It might conjure up an image of Star Wars’ C-3PO in scrubs, but many of these medical machines are actually closer to the robots used to build your car. Not that a lack of automation is anything to be sniffy about; these machines still use powerful computers to carry out difficult jobs. Where the researchers are taking their cue from the seriously sexy technology of driverless cars is, for example, in the development of domestic robots for palliative care, be it helping you make a cup of tea or alerting the doctor if you skip your medication. For surgeons, who are often backing the development of these robots, the benefits of a machine like the da Vinci system are manifold. But it isn’t just about high precision. And well they might.
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