November 1, 2007 - 10:21 am - Posted by iDunzo
In May 2006, Engadget and a few thousand other sites featured variations on this headline, “Robot surgeon performs world’s first unassisted operation“.
Some of the write-ups around the web told of how the robot had been trained in the relatively simple heart surgery that stops atrial fibrillation, which is caused by chaotic electrical activity in the heart (almost like epilepsy for the brain).
To treat the condition, surgeons burn some of the heart flesh, to short-circuit the nerves causing the trouble.
Apparently, an Italian doctor, Carlo Pappone, had gotten a robot to do this surgery. The last sentence of the Engadget post contained this tantalizing promise:
Pappone, who initiated and monitored the latest surgery from a computer in Boston while it was occurring in Milan, plans to release a commercial version of the unnamed robosurgeon later this month.
But here we are, almost 18 months later, and no such robosurgeon has appeared in the market.
So, I’m putting out an APB for Dr. Pappone, the creator of the world’s only autonomous heart surgery robot.
After some exhaustive searching, I haven’t been able to find any good information on what Dr. Pappone has been up to since last May.
Did the robot encounter problems? Is it snaking its way through hearts in Italy or the 3rd world, but not in the US?