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Science Nation: Surgical Robots

3 minutes

(Describer) Streams of light collide to create a globe filled with water. Title: Science Nation.

(Describer) A woman and man speak with each other.

(female) I was born with three heart defects. Two were operated on during infancy.

(male narrator) That was the first of many heart surgeries for Whitney Hatchett. But none was quite like last year's. It was either use the robot and have three small back scars, or, if conventionally, have scar all around.

(Describer) Doctor David Yuh:

We wanted to provide her with an operation that posed the least impact to her physically.

(narrator) Dr. David Yuh is Whitney's surgeon and used this robot, called da Vinci, to perform her procedure.

(David Yuh) It allows us to do intricate maneuvers within her chest that would otherwise require a large incision.

(Describer) He sits at the controls and looks through a viewer.

(narrator) When he's not in surgery, Yuh is honing his skills on da Vinci at the Engineering Research Center for Computer Integrated Surgical Systems at Johns Hopkins University. Support from the National Science Foundation has kept the center on the cutting edge, developing surgical robotic technology.

(male) We're trying to couple the capabilities of machines with the judgment of humans to help do a job better.

(Describer) Russ Taylor:

We have the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of technology in direct partnership with physicians who have real problems.

(narrator) Surgeons like Yuh come here to test the robots. He's using the da Vinci on a dead pig's heart, trying out its new measuring tool.

(Describer) He controls two sets of pincers with a overlay of numbers.

(Yuh) It's very impressive. The video overlay is very helpful, where we can see what we're measuring during the operation-- it's very important, and it's something we want to try.

(male) It's amazing because I can't feel the difference between the different forces.

(narrator) Surgeon Jim Handa tests out this steady-hand robot, crucial for delicate eye surgery. The robot can smoothen out the movement and make someone unable to do it do it quite easily.

(narrator) Taylor says as the technology developed here improves, so will patient care.

(Taylor) We can transcend human limits. A clinician can do things that cannot be done.

(narrator) That has made the difference for Whitney Hatchett.

(Describer) The globe turns.

For Science Nation, I'm Miles O' Brien.

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Step into the future of medicine with a look at the surgical robotics being developed at the Johns Hopkins Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology. Here, engineers are designing less invasive surgical techniques and robots that a decade ago may have seemed like science fiction. Many of these techniques are leading to significantly quicker and less painful recoveries while giving surgeons more flexibility than ever before.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

Science Nation
Episode 1
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 2
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 3
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 4
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 5
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 7
4 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 8
4 minutes
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 9
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Science Nation
Episode 10
4 minutes
Grade Level: 10 - 12

Viewer Comments

  • Tiny default profile photo
    Anonymous (North Hollywood, CA)
    March 28th, 2016 at 09:33 AM

    Audio description very helpful for blind and low vision. Although the low vision student can see, magnification is so great it's difficult to see the entire image without pausing frequently. The audio description with the audio in the video helps a great deal.