Students Use Million Dollar Surgical Robot to Play Operation

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Students Use Million Dollar Surgical Robot to Play Operation

A high-tech surgical robot can be used to save lives, but it's also a great way to win at Operation.

The da Vinci Surgical System is a high-tech robot that costs around $2 million and is meant to treat conditions such as cancer and artery disease. A group of students from the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics figured: "Hey, why not use it to play Operation too?"

Operation is a board game where players have to successfully operate on a patient named Cavity Sam to win. Sam has various holes in his body that contain humorously named parts, such as Spare Ribs and Water On the Knee. Each hole is lined with metal, and the board is electrically charged. Touching the metal on the outside of each hole with the game's included tweezers makes a buzzer sound, causing the player to lose his/her turn. The goal is to remove each part without the buzzer going off.

Critics wonder if systems like the da Vinci are truly an improvement over a trained surgeon. After watching this video, is there any doubt? The da Vinci takes Cavity Sam's Wish Bone out with ease. I just wonder how well it would do with the Charley Horse.

However, before you go spending $2 million to beat your little brother in Operation, there could be some foul play afoot. NPR emailed Carol Reiley from the video about whether or not the buzzer would have sounded from use of the da Vinci. She wrote back: "Yes, we could've grounded the robot and completed the circuit to make the nose buzz. But since it was a 2 million dollar machine, we decided against it."

Phooey. Still, it doesn't look like the robot touches the sides, so I'll call this a win. Reiley added that the video's purpose was to show off the da Vinci's "dexterity and hand-tremor reduction." It's a bit like using C4 explosives to weed your garden, but how can you not approve of something so unnecessary.

Source: NPR

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Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

I would not like to be strapped under that 2million dollar machine, it looks like an accident waiting to happen O_o

Besides! Who doesn't use C4 to weed the garden?

VincentX3:
I would not like to be strapped under that 2million dollar machine, it looks like an accident waiting to happen O_o

Besides! Who doesn't use C4 to weed the garden?

I use dynamite, the fire kills off the excess weeds.

OT: Hooray for overcompensating for a miniscule task!

Of cooouuuurrssse this has to be students. Only students would do it.

"Hey, we have access to this, like, really expensive robot."

"What can it do?"

"It can, like, do really major surgery, or something."

"Why don't we make it play operation?"

"That would be, like, SO COOL!"

That... is... hilareous!

I always knew that game was rigged!

Tom Goldman:
It's a bit like using C4 explosives to weed your garden

It's more like trying to show how much better C4 is compared to gunpowder by showing just what it did to your garden when you trying to use it as a lawnmowner.

Captcha: how ivories. HOW INDEED

I use a chainsaw to cut a steak, why wouldn't I use a 2 million dollar surgical machine to play a board game?

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Where does it say that the robot was taxpayer money???

Well that was fun .....now back to looking at walls

jumjalalabash:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Where does it say that the robot was taxpayer money???

Then the college's money or the boosters'. Point is, that is wasting funds.

What a wonderful use of a very very expensive robot....

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Yeah, I suppose learning how to program the robot mid-operation would have been much more efficient.

They're robotics students, this is obviously a unit dedicated to teaching people how to write code for these things and in all honesty playing Operation is a damn fine exercise. We generally have ours pick up or sort screws or drag a little cart around a rat maze (my uni has at least 2 industrial robots of a similar type).

Impluse_101:
What a wonderful use of a very very expensive robot....

It really is, how else are robotics students supposed to learn how to control robots?

EDIT: According to the article source the student who did this is studying for a Computer Science doctorate so this is completely reasonable.

Well, I'm not going to cast any stones, this is probably something I would've done in my younger, carefree days as a med student.
Now, however, I still have to disapprove, because ive seen these in actions, they're technological marvels, and they cost a bundle. It's hard enough justifying the cost of these to the higher up's without having kid surgeons playing Operation...

Caffeine Rage:
I always knew that game was rigged!

I see what you did there.

But operation is really easy... Give me 2 million and i'll fly over and beat it for you. Hell i'll do it for 1 million.

Lighten up about the taxpayer money, they were just having a bit of fun!

I find it hilarious how upset people are getting about this. It's not like this machine was specifically purchases for these students to play Operation. They probably had some spare time and wanted to make a funny video. Just listen to the music and the obviously sarcastic expressions the students make. Anyone who thinks this is their only use for the machine isn't thinking straight. Why are people taking this seriously?

I find it funny in a good way. I seriously doubt that the machine could have been used on some fancy operation at the same time.
Way to go, students!

These machines require a lot of practice to use, can anyone really think of a better way to practice using the machine outside of a very fiddly very delicate game?

Boyninja616:
Of cooouuuurrssse this has to be students. Only students would do it.

"Hey, we have access to this, like, really expensive robot."

"What can it do?"

"It can, like, do really major surgery, or something."

"Why don't we make it play operation?"

"That would be, like, SO COOL!"

I am almost certain that is exactly the conversation that occurred.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

What's wrong with this? If it couldn't play operation I would be a bit sketchy on having it operate on a person.
It's hardly fragile as it's meant to operate on people and it's being used by people trained to use it.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

jumjalalabash:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Where does it say that the robot was taxpayer money???

Then the college's money or the boosters'. Point is, that is wasting funds.

What? How is this wasting money? It's not like it's consumable lol nor is it in danger of breaking.

Lighten up.

VincentX3:
I would not like to be strapped under that 2million dollar machine, it looks like an accident waiting to happen O_o

The alternative is being operated on by a human directly.
Even without accidents the fact is that humans are much more limited.
I would pick a robot over a human, like I'd pick a human over a trained monkey.
That is, if they are allowed to, and made to, practise.

After reading some other posts I realize practising with the practice robot is somehow a waste of money.
Still, I'd rather have them waste money and save lives because they've actually used the thing before.

Boyninja616:
Of cooouuuurrssse this has to be students. Only students would do it.

You do realize smart people study too, don't you?
I'm pretty sure if you're in this area of expertise, you're one of the smart ones.

Generic Gamer:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Yeah, I suppose learning how to program the robot mid-operation would have been much more efficient.

They're robotics students, this is obviously a unit dedicated to teaching people how to write code for these things and in all honesty playing Operation is a damn fine exercise. We generally have ours pick up or sort screws or drag a little cart around a rat maze (my uni has at least 2 industrial robots of a similar type).

Impluse_101:
What a wonderful use of a very very expensive robot....

It really is, how else are robotics students supposed to learn how to control robots?

EDIT: According to the article source the student who did this is studying for a Computer Science doctorate so this is completely reasonable.

Agreed. It says its a training unit anyway. Not for human use. So that is a training machine the sole reason for its existence is to teach people how to use it and allow them to be proficient in its use. Seems like its doing its job to me.

That is why collage is the best time of ones life.

Thumbs up Johns Hopkins University Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics, I'm sure deep down you did it for SCIENCE

RedEyesBlackGamer:

jumjalalabash:

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

Where does it say that the robot was taxpayer money???

Then the college's money or the boosters'. Point is, that is wasting funds.

No...
The machine wasn't built so they could make a two minute video of it playing operation...

They did indeed make a video, but it was made for surgery...

RedEyesBlackGamer:
Nice to see taxpayer money being put to good use. Sigh....

"A group of students from the Johns Hopkins University Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics"

"Computational Sensing and Robotics"

No real waste considering doing the operation game goes alongside the students curiculum, and the 2 million dollar machine was not purchased for this. so students paying money for the classes and using the skills the class teaches them to perform precise and delicate actions to complete the game using the games basic mechanics of remove the part without touching the sides. what waste? they probably learned a bit of problem solving and had fun learning.

JinxyKatte:

Agreed. It says its a training unit anyway. Not for human use. So that is a training machine the sole reason for its existence is to teach people how to use it and allow them to be proficient in its use. Seems like its doing its job to me.

What confuses me is that people seem to think these are students pissing around at the hospital, these aren't doctors pissing about with supplies on their downtime, these are robotics students practising their trade.

I've written loads of programs, none of which were practically useful but all of which taught me things. This is the same thing, it showcases the student's ability to configure the sensors and program in thresholds for pressure, arm orientation and fine adjustments. This is a surprisingly delicate operation to have a robot carry out, take it from me.

Oh cool, my dad builds these things. Got to play with one at the main office, they are so much fun.

Generic Gamer:

JinxyKatte:

Agreed. It says its a training unit anyway. Not for human use. So that is a training machine the sole reason for its existence is to teach people how to use it and allow them to be proficient in its use. Seems like its doing its job to me.

What confuses me is that people seem to think these are students pissing around at the hospital, these aren't doctors pissing about with supplies on their downtime, these are robotics students practising their trade.

I've written loads of programs, none of which were practically useful but all of which taught me things. This is the same thing, it showcases the student's ability to configure the sensors and program in thresholds for pressure, arm orientation and fine adjustments. This is a surprisingly delicate operation to have a robot carry out, take it from me.

Lots of people haven't done anything past programming their VCRs, or... microwave is still around so maybe that...

Even with just a basic understanding in programming for robotics (high school class and one college), its obvious that its just a part of training. Hell my high school class had "making the robot do a figure 8" as extra credit.

What I'm seeing is instead of them trying to get the robot to pick up a bottle here, or a can there, at least having a little bit of fun with the learning WHILE showing off how capable the unit is.
What others are seeing is exactly that though, pissing about with some expensive toys. Can't say I hold it against them though, its more fun watching Battle Bots or whatnot, than it is to build and program and troubleshoot it all.

I'd do it if I could. Just because I could. Also because I've never won that game.

"How was your weekend?"
"I used a multi-million dollar surgical robot...to play Operation."
"..."

Seriously though, if it was for practice it's fine.

Tom Goldman:

Operation is a board game where players have to successfully operate on a patient named Cavity Sam to win. Sam has various holes in his body that contain humorously named parts, such as Spare Ribs and Water On the Knee. Each hole is lined with metal, and the board is electrically charged. Touching the metal on the outside of each hole with the game's included tweezers makes a buzzer sound, causing the player to lose his/her turn. The goal is to remove each part without the buzzer going off.

It's a sad, sad day when you have to explain to readers what Operation is.

The Lunatic:
These machines require a lot of practice to use, can anyone really think of a better way to practice using the machine outside of a very fiddly very delicate game?

I was kind of thinking the same thing.

I mean this could be a good way to test the future versions of this machine.

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