Some see robots as good, others evil. But technology breakthroughs represent increased productivity. In and of itself, technological advances are always good.
How humans use technology may be good or bad.
Surgical Robot Outperforms Humans
Please consider US Researchers Enter the Cutting Edge with First Robot Surgeon.
US researchers have developed what they say is the world’s first surgical robot that can outperform human surgeons when operating autonomously on soft tissues such as intestines, paving the way for clinical trials.
The “patients” were pigs, animals favoured for surgical research because of their internal similarity to people, and the operation involved intestinal anastomosis (reconnecting a severed bowel) — which is a common surgical procedure, for example when removing a colon tumour.
“The outcomes were surprising to us in that [Star’s] performance was consistently better than surgeons’,” said Peter Kim, project leader. Soft tissue, moving in a dynamic living environment, is a more difficult target for a robot to track and manipulate than hard cartilage or bone.
The results are published in Science Translational Medicine. Clinical trials could begin within two or three years.
Common operations that might be suitable for the system include removal of the gall bladder and appendix. “If we put in the effort, I think within a relatively short time we will be able to do a complete appendectomy,” Dr Kim added.
Children’s National Health System has patented several features of Star, which will be commercialised by a spinout company, Omniborus.
Airbus Plans Humanoid Assemblers
Next up, also consider Airbus plans to develop assembly line robots to work with humans.
Airbus is working with French and Japanese researchers to develop humanoid robots able to work alongside humans on its assembly lines and inside aircraft, in what would be a step change in the use of industrial robotics.
While carmakers were early adopters of robotics, the aircraft sector has struggled to make the economics work because it produces lower volumes and has longer production times.
The development of collaborative robots that can work alongside humans is changing the calculation. These new machines will be more flexible and lighter than existing models, able to crouch and bend more like people do. They will also be equipped with a host of sensors to ensure they stop if they touch or bump into a human.
Joint Robotics Humanoid Robot
“We want this robot to do the most difficult tasks, such as where you are working well above the level of your head or very low. These are tasks workers do not want to do and robots will be there to help them,” said Adrien Escande, a researcher on the project. “We have shown these robots have capability. Now we have to prove the industrial robustness.”