The da Vinci robot has proven to be an endless source of amusement to surgeons everywhere; in Japan, it folds origami cranes, at the state of Washington’s Swedish Medical centre, it flies paper aeroplanes and gives manicures. It’s a battle of the hospitals—who can make their pricey pony perform the greatest trick?
The da Vinci is indeed an impressive machine, fully capable of all of the tasks mentioned above, and much more. Developed by robotic surgery corporation Intuitive Surgical in 1999, the system was coined the “da Vinci” because “Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot”, and used great anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to inject life into his work. The robot’s four remotely operated “arms” are adept at performing meticulous micro-tasks that even the steadiest human hand couldn’t master.
Below, PhD students at John Hopkins University Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) throw their hat in the ring by practicing precision control with the world’s most famous—and perhaps most expensive—surgical tool and the classic board game of Operation (…at least the surgeons aren’t Johnny Knoxville and Jimmy Fallon, and the subject isn’t a pair of balls).