Leonardo da Vinci came up with all kinds of cool ideas that were way, way ahead of his time. The artist has remained just as popular as ever thanks to modern takes on the master, but I don’t think even Dan Brown would have claimed him as the inspiration for a robot.
Intuitive Surgical has created a line of robotic surgical systems named after the original Renaissance Man. While the system may look vaguely like the torture droid from Star Wars, it assists surgeons with operations that require supreme accuracy.
The da Vinci system consists of a high-def, 3D console that gives the doctor an up close look at his patient, and provides magnification thanks to a strategically placed camera. The actual surgery is still performed virtually by the doctor, using a haptic input device Intuitive Surgical calls EndoWrist. The four arms of the robot can be configured for various types of operations, including prostatectomies and heart surgery.
EndoWrist allows the surgeon to make much larger movements with his hands that usual, and translates those movements into precise motions on the operating table. According to Fortune, the system is so intuitive that studies have shown that children who are used to twitching along with their favorite video games are even better at the movements than newly trained surgeons.
Below you’ll find a video about the system.