With a bulky camera eye and spindly hydraulic arm, this medical robot looks like it could fit in on an automotive production line. This bot isn't building a Toyota, though. It carefully scans soft, sticky intestinal tissue and delicately weaves stitches with unmatched surgical precision. Indeed, with no guiding hand from its fellow doctors, it is the best in the world at performing the medical operation it was designed for. It is performing surgery all by itself.
The surgical bot is named STAR, or Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, and it just performed the world's first autonomous, soft-tissue surgery. STAR is the creation of a team of computer scientists and medical researchers led by Peter Kim, a biochemist at the Children's National Health System in Washington D.C. The machine performed several supervised (but unguided) surgical procedures in which it sutured together two severed segments of bowel intestine in living, anesthetized pigs.