“Robotics and other combinations will make the world pretty fantastic compared with today” Bill Gates
Sci-Fi films, such as The Terminator, The Matrix and Ex-Machina have often depicted a world in which robots and AI turn against their human counterparts leading to deadly consequences. However, this is far from reality and the ways in which robots can be used to improve and increase longevity of human life are continuing to develop.
Having previously transformed the industrial sector, robots are now making their way into the operating room. Surgical robots feature superhuman levels of control in terms of speed, precision and efficiency, revolutionizing the way doctors operate and how quickly patients are able to recover.
In 1985, the first surgical robot (PUMA 560) was used in a stereotaxic operation to eliminate the risk associated with unwanted motion when carrying out the procedure. Prior to this, the operation had been subject to error due to hand tremors during the placement of the needle in the brain for biopsy. Using Computed Tomography (CT), the needle could be guided to a precision level impossible for a human to replicate every time.
Today, this exciting and ever-evolving market continues to grow, with companies, such as Intuitive Surgical, Stryker and Globus Medical becoming key players in an industry predicted to be valued at $21.3 billion by 2030.
Whilst this may seem a terrifying thought for those still certain that an over-reliance on robotics will see them take over the world – surely its no more terrifying than relying on a human to perform some of the most intricate surgeries. The things a surgeon can do are amazing, but their limitation ultimately is that they are still human, they still get tired, they can be distracted and they have emotions.
Thanks to robotics, surgeons can now take on more of a supervisory role where their skills can be used to guide and control tools far smaller than a human could physically manage.
This is the future, and robotics will make surgery pretty fantastic compared with today.