At least that's one possibility that researchers have in mind as they're tweaking the device. The researchers, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have given the robotic arm (manufactured by Barrett Technologies) the gift of vision via a digital camera.

June 12, 2008

1 Min Read
Robotic Arm Could Perform Surgery One Day

Although it's not possible just yet, Dov Katz, a doctoral student of computer science at Amherst, tells MD&DI that, for medical applications, the arm might have autonomous skills that could enable it to manipulate objects, perform complex tasks, and learn from its interaction with the real world. "For the medical field, I can see how such a robot will be able to learn how to use equipment in an operation room or assist people during recovery from a medical procedure," says Katz.The next step for the researchers is to improve the robot's skills to make it truly independent. "The basic idea is that once robots can learn from experience and teach themselves through trial and error, a large variety of applications becomes feasible," says Katz. This means that one day the robot could learn how to use objects in the OR, thus helping a doctor during surgery. What's even more amazing is that this kind of robot would be programmed to perform a certain action--it would learn how to perform actions such as using a tool through observation, and would have the ability to improve over time.

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