CITRIS PI’s surgical robot hits new milestone

Still from a video shows black robotic arm stitching a white piece of imitation skin.

As the MIT Technology Review reports, a AI-trained robot out of longtime CITRIS researcher Ken Goldberg’s lab can now complete six stitches in imitation skin autonomously. The achievement marks a step towards implementing robotic systems that can assist surgeons in repetitive yet critical aspects of surgery, such as suturing. 

Neural network training and multiple cameras allow the robot to operate at a new level of dexterity and spatial awareness. The resarchers’ next goal is generating accurate, reproducible results in diverse wound scenarios to help explore the technology’s viability in the operating room. 

“Can we show that we actually get better patient outcomes?” Goldberg says. “It’s convenient for the doctor, yes, but most importantly, does this lead to better sutures, faster healing and less scarring?”

Goldberg’s team published a study in 2022 about their robotic system outperforming a surgeon in creating incisions, another common surgical task.

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