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Robot surgeons becoming more adept

By Yao Xinyu (People's Daily Online)    13:47, April 05, 2016
Robot surgeons becoming more adept
A doctor uses a machine to perform a surgery.

Believe it or not, today’s robots can not only be professional Go players, they can also qualify as expert surgeons.

Recently, a British teenager named Billy Whitaker had his epilepsy cured thanks in part to the efforts of a robot surgeon. With minute accuracy, the robot pinpointed the epicenter of Whitaker’s debilitating attacks and drilled electrodes deep into his brain to remove the tiny piece of seizure-causing tissue.

Whitaker’s case was not the first instance of robots successfully performing surgery. To qualify as a robot surgeon, a robot must possess three major items: sufficiently advanced software and hardware (a brain), a sensor (eyes), and electromechanical devices (hands).

The “brain” works similarly to our computers at home, but its operating system is usually optimized to increase the stability of its software. “Eyes” usually refers to features like pressure sensors and/or video image capture devices. The “eyes” are in charge of collecting information and transferring it to the “brain,” which then issues commands for the “hands” to perform.

Most medical robots today are based on “Leonardo’s robot,” a design originally completed by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century and rediscovered in the 1950s. Doctors sit in front of a screen and use a sort of joystick to perform surgeries. The most important feature of these surgeries is that doctors are able to adjust the scale based on specific needs, which is especially beneficial for delicate and hyperfine surgeries. However, these ”robot surgeries” are usually much more expensive than regular ones.

In addition to robot surgeons, there are also robot chefs and robot executives. With the rapid development and increasing use of artificial intelligence across many fields, it is likely that more and more robots will make significant contributions to humanity. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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