This Robot Surgeon Is Outperforming Human Doctors

Feb 14, 2017 at 4:34 PM ET

Imagine you needed a life-saving operation. Would you choose an experienced, human surgeon to perform the procedure or a robot? According to Dr. Peter Kim, vice president of the Sheikh Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, the machine might be the better choice.

Dr. Kim is specifically thinking of STAR (which stands for smart tissue autonomous robot), a robotic surgeon. The machine uses advanced 3D imaging to ‘see’ its subjects, along with sensing technology that lets it work with greater precision than humans are capable of.

As a result, it is able to operate with fewer complications and better outcomes than even the most experienced human doctor.

But, Dr. Kim says, the robot’s not likely to stand in for human doctors any time soon. “The goal is not to simply take away or replace surgeons, but really enhance surgeons’ capacity and capability,” he said.

Kim also foresees a future where technology like this can be a democratizing force, making complex medical procedures available to more and more people around the world.