A team testing a system of autonomous robotic surgery claims to have bettered the best performances of man, by using a technique -- and an "autonomous suturing algorithm" -- in which the human acts as a mere guide to a superior robotic hand.
The paper on supervised autonomous robotic soft tissue surgery explains that: "...the outcome of supervised autonomous procedures is superior to surgery performed by expert surgeons and RAS techniques in ex vivo porcine tissues and in living pigs," which we think, having read it about six times and looked up some terms, means that a man telling a robot what to do did better at sewing up a pig than a man doing it all by himself. There's no word on the current health of the pig.
"These results demonstrate the potential for autonomous robots to improve the efficacy, consistency, functional outcome, and accessibility of surgical techniques," it continues, saying that the next-gen sewing machine was aided also by a plenoptic three-dimensional and near-infrared fluorescent imaging system, resulting in in better stitching that leaked less and was performed quicker. [STAR via The Register]