Robot-assisted surgery can be traced back to the mid-1980s, when a team at the University of British Columbia developed a robot that assisted in an orthopedic procedure.
Three decades on, we’re still a long way from robots taking on more complex procedures without a surgeon being present. But the most recent advances, aided by GPUs, could make surgery safer, more accessible and less expensive.
“The goal was not to remove surgeons from the equation but to provide an intelligent option or solution to enhance their capacity and capability,” said Peter Kim, associate surgeon-in-chief at the CNMC and lead researcher on the project.
Even when robots are used today to perform relatively routine autonomous “soft surgery” procedures, a surgeon is typically directing every movement, meaning the robot has the same limits as the surgeon controlling it. Kim’s team has upped the ante by developing a robot that can autonomously perform more delicate procedures on soft tissues.