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Robots can do everything–except, perhaps, respond to subtleties and delicate, quickly-changing situations.

That, at least, is why robot surgery has taken longer to expand into the world of soft tissue surgery than other areas of medicine. Performing surgery on parts of the body like the small intestine or blood vessels has traditionally been quite tricky, because they tend to be less rigid and more slippery than, say, bones. But researchers at Johns Hopkins have been developing methods to use robots for precise, automated soft tissue surgery.

“There’s a wide range of skills out there [among surgeons],” JHU computer scientist Simon Leonard told the Hopkins Hub. Figuring out how to get robots involved “really levels the playing field.”

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