Doctors at a British hospital have just carried out the world’s first surgery using a remote controlled robot! The procedure fixed a patient’s irregular heart rhythm, and although the doctor was in the same hospital as the patient — just through the wall in another room — developers of the RC surgery technology believe this is the first step towards long-distance operations. Imagine a doctor in London performing surgery on your heart in New York!

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Dr. Andre Ng — a cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, Great Britain– performed the surgery, which inserted a catheter into the patient’s heart and found and abated the source of the irregular beating. This type of surgery involves constant x-rays and can take a long time to complete, exposing the physician to harmful radiation and mandating that they wear a heavy protective vest while operating. With the remote-controlled technolgy the doctor was able to sit comfortably in an adjoining room without the stresses of the operating room around him.

I think it would certainly be possible in future to do this from another city, or further away — all that’s required is a reliable link between your remote controller, where the operator is, and the robotic arm, where the patient is,” Dr. Ng said of the technolgy. He added that he thought it could be done from anywhere in the world. This technology could revolutionize the health industry — instead of flying to a distant hospital to get the best care, we could entrust ourselves to this new world of virtual medicine.

Via Reuters