The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) has it all; a catchy backstory, a legitimate purpose, and some impressive real-world results. The brainchild of Dr. Peter Kim, STAR has been in development for years. Recently, a team of researchers led by Kim oversaw the robot perform successful open-bowel surgery on pigs. None of the patients suffered any complications and all remained in excellent health following the procedures.
The makings of a STAR
Newsweek reported, “The motivation behind STAR began years ago, on top of a skiing hill in Canada. Back then, Kim was a pediatric reconstructive surgeon, an expert in performing airway reconstructive surgeries on tiny babies. While skiing with his son one winter, he received a call about a baby across the country needing immediate surgery. Rushing down the hill, he had a realization: ‘I didn’t get down safely,’ he says, ‘it wasn’t good for me, and it wasn’t good for the patient.’”
Following the incident, Kim began thinking of a way to transfer his knowledge to a platform that was accessible anytime, anywhere. In this way, work began on what would ultimately be a complex but extremely effective robot. STAR is equipped with an incredible visual system that allows the robot to see subtle differences in soft tissue and locate objects in three dimensions. In addition, it can see temperature and pulse to help distinguish between tissue types.
Old concept, new tricks
Robot-assisted surgeries have been around for years; STAR represents the next phase of computer-controlled surgery. Kim told Newsweek, “We’re the first group to