The da Vinci Robot Plays "Operation" Board Game
May 6, 2011 12:32 AM   Subscribe

Yay robots! Those are the cutest PhD candidates ever. I want to watch all their adventures with that music in the background.
posted by dog food sugar at 12:39 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

You blew it, Charlie.
Ha ha ha.
posted by pracowity at 12:48 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

This robot was put to much better use when Dr. House used it to undo the buttons on Cameron's shirt.
posted by empatterson at 1:47 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

It doesn't look like the instrument was actually part of the circuit, making this cute video demonstrative of nothing but their cuteness.

And if my experience with surgeons is any indication, the cuter they are, the more they're going to need that fucking machine.

posted by clarknova at 2:14 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

The scary thing is that this is way modern surgeons actually perform surgery. Most of them really believe that if they remove Writers' Cramp it will free up those Butterflies in the Stomach and prevent hemorrhaging of Water on the Knee.

I blame early board games for misinforming the next generation of surgeons. Real surgery is a lot more serious than the removal of the Funny Bone.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:36 AM on May 6, 2011

Who removed your funny bone?
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 2:43 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by twoleftfeet at 2:50 AM on May 6, 2011

I'm glad our health-care money is being spent wisely.
posted by Fizz at 4:39 AM on May 6, 2011

As Bob Costas once said: "Meanwhile, the plaintive cries of desperately ill men and women go unheeded."
posted by MegoSteve at 4:59 AM on May 6, 2011

Yeah, unclear if it would have buzzed at all.
posted by odinsdream at 5:27 AM on May 6, 2011

How many takes did they need before they got the film just right ?
I don't trust robots.
posted by Flood at 5:27 AM on May 6, 2011

aaaaand cost $720000
posted by the noob at 5:46 AM on May 6, 2011

It's a lot easier to work on patients when they aren't breathing or moving at all.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:48 AM on May 6, 2011

I hope I'd be knocked out when they wheel me under that machine - because, frankly, it would scare the shit out of me if I were awake.
posted by Muddler at 5:51 AM on May 6, 2011

I'm glad our health-care money is being spent wisely.

Seriously? These folks already have access to the machine as part of their training, and they're not wasting anything but a minute amount of electricity. It's not as though a patient was awaiting liver transplant while Operation was on the table.

Your comment basically reads, "I don't/I'm not allowed to have any fun at work, so no one else should, either." I'd absolutely love it if more people did more fun things, so long as it doesn't detract from their jobs. Happy people do a better job, and that's a fact.
posted by explosion at 5:54 AM on May 6, 2011 [14 favorites]

I was expecting a robot that could take out all the pieces in under six seconds without a single buzz. Actually, that would be a cool project for some budding robot builder who wants a lot of youtube hits.
posted by fungible at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hope I'd be knocked out when they wheel me under that machine - because, frankly, it would scare the shit out of me if I were awake.

There's a pretty gruesome dream sequence in House involving one of these machines. Do not search it out.
posted by odinsdream at 6:45 AM on May 6, 2011

After seeing how that surgical robot is controlled, I really want my own surgical robot. It's like driving the Batmobile!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:07 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a lot easier to work on patients when they aren't breathing or moving at all.

When I hear surgeons complain about those things I tell them they should have gone into pathology.
posted by TedW at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hope that gameboard has decent insurance. Otherwise even batteries will be beyond its means after that procedure.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2011

Since it wasn't going to set off the buzzer anyway, they should have had a third student use the robot to just pick up the game, turn it over, and shake all the pieces out in just a few seconds. That student would have been the creative problem-solver. ; )
posted by stifford at 7:46 AM on May 6, 2011

"This calls for a lab coat!"
posted by lordrunningclam at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2011

Since there hasn't been much robot-love in this thread, I'd like to say that robots like this are awesome for this reason: they translate scale. A tiny tumor surrounded by tiny blood vessels? Now it's a baseball surrounded by garden hoses. A hand twitch that might have before nicked something important now barely moves the scalpel.

That said, seeing all those giant robot arms pointing down at you would be terrifying.
posted by the jam at 9:37 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

They used the da Vinci robot to remove my dad's prostate (cancer.) The thing is freakin' awesome... but, umm.. med students should stick to med school; acting just ain't for them.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:27 AM on May 6, 2011

posted by jtron at 11:20 AM on May 6, 2011

Here's what I learned:

-I want a surgical robot
-10-year-old kids would make excellent surgeons (10-year-old me would have creamed DaVinci if it was timed)
-People are afraid of robots with lots of sharp arms and things (what gives, people?)
-This is not really a robot (still cool)
posted by Mister_A at 1:03 PM on May 6, 2011

Not what it says on the tin.

It is Operation played with the da Vinci robot, instead of The da Vinci Robot Plaays Operation.

I still wish I got to have fun with toys like that.
posted by Samizdata at 2:00 PM on May 6, 2011

Da Vinci surgeries are cool and awesome and the machine is impressive, but the day when I had to scrub in to three of them was probably the worst time I've had in medical school that didn't involve being yelled at. Watching those surgeries is about as interesting as watching someone else play video games in five journey stretches. Also, it gets really cold in the OR when you aren't doing anything.
posted by honeybee413 at 6:24 AM on May 7, 2011

For those who might want a non-doctor, non-med student's perspective--I had the chance to play with this robot with two of the pioneers in using it for mitral valve repair, Dr. Chitwood and Dr. Nifong...

They had it set up for practice/demonstration on this miniscule outcrop of colorful rubbery protuberances with holes in them, scattered with tiny rubber bands. But when you peer into the monitor, as the jam mentioned, this microcosm becomes a huge landscape.

You control the two pincers or forceps (or whatever they're called) with just the forefinger and thumb of each hand, strapped (velcroed, I recall?) onto two pinching-like tools below the monitor.

It's amazing how smooth and easy it is to manipulate these teeny-tiny objects on a table 15 feet away from you--especially the way it eliminates all shakes and tremors in your hands, and it does so without ever moving the actual surgical pincers in any direction that you don't intend. How it knows the difference between an unintended tremor and an intended miniscule adjustment is beyond my programming knowledge.

Perhaps just as important, the view in the monitor is stereoscopic/3-D. Within minutes, I was threading the rubber bands through these very flexible rubbery holes and tying knots in them like they were my shoelaces and not 1/2 cm-wide stretchy loops.

If my amateur hands could do that so easily, I'm amazed to think about what skilled surgeons can do in the heart--and with only three or so small holes in the body needed, rather than a cracked-open chest.

It may look scary and be as boring to watch as another person playing video games, but it also seems easier than a video game. And as someone with mild mitral regurgitation, I'm glad that, if that condition ever becomes a more serious issue for me, robots like this are available for surgeons to use.

If they had set up this video demonstration so that it could actually buzz the Operation game, I can verify that it would be fairly easy to clear all funny bones and such with no red nose lighting up.
posted by ottimo at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2011 students should stick to med school; acting just ain't for them.
I've seen professional actors with less enthusiastic cheesy mime-smiles, and they can't handle giant robots, so hey, these kids are doing well!

....and yeah, why is the OR so freaking cold? I hate waking up up frozen stiff with a tube of even colder whatsit-stuff going into my arm or hand. BrrRrr. Wake-up rooms should have open fireplaces and hot cocoa.
posted by dabitch at 6:28 PM on May 16, 2011

I'm heartily in favour of letting PhD candidates do silly things with complex and expensive machinery. Firstly, it's one of the extremely few compensations you get for slaving away into the small hours of the morning. Secondly, it's an excellent way to build up experience with the machines; I've become one of the more knowledgable users on a couple of big, expensive lab machines (and have ended up doing lots of teaching and writing chunks of the in-house manual for one of them), largely thanks to time spent tinkering with them just before going home, or while waiting for some part of my real experiments to finish running.

I agree that the operation game was pretty slow though. I've played it against surgeons before, and they were almost supernaturally fast.
posted by metaBugs at 3:02 PM on May 28, 2011

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