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Robot surgeon performs first soft-tissue operation by itself

160504-robot-surgery-mn-1505_64766b4b95b687114fdd1811d9967469.nbcnews-fp-1200-800Its name is STAR. And on Wednesday, scientists reported that the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot could stitch together separate pieces of the bowel in pigs, the first time a surgical robot has completed a portion of an operation in living soft tissue without human guidance.

The new paper, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, amounts to what’s known as a proof of concept — a demonstration that the new advance appears to be possible. Outside experts described it as a key achievement in efforts to move toward autonomous robotic surgery, but noted the technology is years away from being used in operating rooms, or even in a clinical trial.

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