Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have developed a robot capable of performing laparoscopic surgery autonomously on the soft tissue of a pig

As part of the surgery, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) took on the typically intricate and delicate task of reconnecting two ends of an intestine — called intestinal anastomosis.

Source: Johns Hopkins UniversitySource: Johns Hopkins University

To accomplish this, the STAR relied on its vision-guided system for suturing soft tissue. According to its developers, STAR is guided by a machine learning-based tracking algorithm and a structural light-based 3D endoscope.

By automating gastrointestinal surgery, the Johns Hopkins team reduces the risk of human error potentially encountered with repetitive tasks such as suturing, which demand a certain amount of precision. One tremor of a physician’s hand or a misplaced stitch could result in a dangerous leak.

According to the researchers, the STAR performed laparoscopic surgery on four animals in the lab.

The article, Autonomous robotic laparoscopic surgery for intestinal anastomosis, appears in the journal Science Robotics.

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