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The Robot Surgeon of Your Nightmares Can Wiggle Its Way Inside You

The Flex Robotic System has a 3D high-definition camera and bends to conform to a patient’s anatomy.
1. A surgeon inserts the robot into a patient’s mouth and maneuvers it into place using a joysticklike controller. 2. The surgeon uses hand controls to manipulate lasers, graspers, and other instruments attached to the robot, guiding them through the tubing to where they’re needed.

1. A surgeon inserts the robot into a patient’s mouth and maneuvers it into place using a joysticklike controller. 2. The surgeon uses hand controls to manipulate lasers, graspers, and other instruments attached to the robot, guiding them through the tubing to where they’re needed.

Illustrator: Chris Philpot

Form and function
The Flex Robotic System is equipped with a high-definition camera and can bend to conform to a patient’s anatomy, allowing a surgeon to guide instruments through the patient’s body.

Innovator: Howie Choset
Age: 47
Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and co-founder of Medrobotics in Raynham, Mass.