Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Kyushu University have unveiled a new prototype robotic surgical system that they hope in a few years will be competing against Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci systems. The device features three cameras at the working end that provide a 3D view of the entire scene to the surgeon and control board is simple and small enough to fit into a Japanese lunch box, according to one of the professors leading the project.
The team believes their device will be relatively cheap to produce and may be useful in applications where the da Vinci isn’t a practical option. They also envision it being used for true telemedicine during which the treated patient may be in an entirely different location from where the surgeon is with the controller. This gives us visions of a future where surgeons, like American presidents, travel with an emergency briefcase (or lunch box) that can be activated to save, instead of annihilate, people half a world away.