How Did Robots End Up in the Operating Room?

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So, there is a couple of aspects of the robot that are critical, and they originated in different fields, and then came together in a form of robotics surgery. Tele-robotics or tele-manipulation showed up initially in the nuclear industry. People we're wanting to be able to manipulate objects in a dangerous environment from safety of behind some kind of a barrier, and there was also lot of early development that was done that way.

The people I believe who were most responsible for the vision of this tele-manipulation surgical robot came out of [xx[ and SRI, so the groups at the SRI were aimed at. How do you treat a soldier who has been injured on the front line, in that golden hour? With, so that there's an hour after someone is been injured, where the compensation mechanisms of the body haven't kicked in yet, and if you can intervene, and you can treat them in that golden hour you have much better chances of saving their life.

But, you don't want to have all of your surgeons up on the front lines, and so the idea with the Dapper SRI Program was that you'd have your surgeons many miles back behind the lines, and you's have robotics that would be able to treat them on the front lines. Quite bit of work was done at SRI in that area.

At the same time, there was a lot of work being done on highly back driveable systems, cable driven robotics, and MIT at the AI lab. Cutey Kim and Honey were looking at a lot of robotics that could be very compliant, that would not the way you think of sort of stiff hard robots moving in an environment that would push a person out of the way but something that if it interacted with somebody, it wouldn't injure them.

And so, a lot of work out of the AI Lab SRI built on a lot of the telerobotics since they came out of Bell Labs as some of the work that Russell Taylor did. All got pulled together and said, instead of working at a distance, what if that distance is just to cross, the surface of the body, the teleprescence is taking big hands and big incision.

So, you can put your eyes in there, and instead shrinking them down into small instruments that you can place through small incisions, and now you're telepresent inside the person without having to cut through, put big cuts in their body in order to do that, and so it was all these ideas that came from different areas were pulled together, and then turned into the idea of being telepresent within the body.