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An open-source robo-surgeon

Mar 02, 2012, 03:02 (0 Talkback[s])


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"But the da Vinci is far from perfect. It is immobile and weighs more than half a tonne, which limits its deployability, and it costs $1.8m, which puts it beyond the reach of all but the richest institutions. It also uses proprietary software. Even if researchers keen to experiment with new robotic technologies and treatments could afford one, they cannot tinker with da Vinci?s operating system.

"None of that is true of the Raven. Originally developed for the American army by Dr Hannaford and Jacob Rosen of the University of California, Santa Cruz, as a prototype for robotic surgery on the battlefield, it is compact, light and cheap (relatively speaking) at around $250,000. More importantly for academics, it is also the first surgical robot to use open-source software. Its Linux-based operating system lets anyone modify and improve the original code, creating a way for researchers to experiment and collaborate."

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