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Robosurgeon goes to war

Ryan Block, @ryan

Robots are already taking bomb squad members and armed forces members out of harm's way, between unmanned aerial vehicles and PackBot like utility droids, but it's about time all the marvelous enhancements of soulless autonomous surgery were felt by the war wounded. Blake Hannaford and his colleagues at the University of Washington have developed a portable robotic surgery system that can be transported into battle, enabling doctors to really do their thing without borders and behind enemy lines; two really freaking scary articulating arms can get down to business on their patients with a doctor operator's signal relayed in via an unmanned aerial vehicle. Apparently there are still lots of issues with the scenario that make things difficult though, like noise, interference, and power, all of which could disrupt communications and the efficacy of Hannaford's robosurgeon -- not ideal, especially considering the fact that if something goes wrong, you don't even get some comforting bedside manner.

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