Robots aren't yet taking over the world, but they are allowing doctors to perform operations with super-human precision — and fold and throw paper airplanes like kids in the waiting room.
The video above is meant to show off the greater surgical precision and dexterity gained with the use of a robot assistant in the operating room. The paper plane it folds is about the size of a penny.
James Porter, director of Robotic Surgery at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, explains that surgeons control the da Vinci robot from a console fitted with little finger controllers. The finger motions are transmitted via the robot to the patient. Magnified 3-D vision gives the surgeons a clear view of their patient.
The advantages of robot-assisted surgery include smaller incisions than are possible with the human hand. As well, the robot doesn't have any tremors — shaky hands — meaning the movements are more precise and fluid and thus less traumatic to tissues.
According to the hospital, the benefits of robot-assisted surgery include less post-operative pain, a shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, faster recovery time and quicker return to normal daily activities.
The technology is used to perform minimally-invasive urological, gynecological and thoracic surgeries for diseases such as prostate cancer, kidney cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer, and to assist in complex gynecologic reconstruction surgeries.
More stories on robotic surgery:
- 'Frozen smoke' could boost robotic surgery, batteries
- Surgery goes social: Robotic operation to be webcast, tweeted
- Robots invade the operating room
- Robotic assist eases less-invasive hysterectomies
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).