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There are some really cool advances happening in the medical world. Here's one of them.

This is some really cool technology, and it's becoming more and more practical.

You might have seen this video making its way around the Internet over the past few days, featuring a grape being sewn back together by some tiny surgical instruments.

While the video isn't exactly new (it was first posted in September 2014), it's gotten some attention recently. And for good reason, too. It's a really impressive look at technology in the field of medicine.


Image by da Vinci Surgery.

The particular robot shown in the video is a da Vinci Single-Site Wristed Needle Driver.

It's a tool so delicate and precise that not only can it stitch a grape back together, but it can also fold origami cranes smaller than a dime. To put that in perspective, think about folding a normal origami crane and then imagine doing it with a piece of paper the size of large confetti.

Imagine someone trying to make these tiny paper cranes with their bare hands. Image by da Vinci Surgery.

Basically, the da Vinci robot is capable of doing delicate work that's too small for human hands.

But let's talk about what really matters: What could this technology mean for patients?

Because let's face it — most of us won't find ourselves in a grape-peeling accident that requires emergency stitching. ( On a side note, if a grape dies in a tragic peeling accident, does it become a raisin, wine, or just a mangled grape?)

According to da Vinci, these tiny tools have been used in more than 1.5 million procedures since 2000.

It means that surgery will (hopefully) continue to get less and less invasive over time.

Recently, "minimally invasive" endoscopic surgeries have become increasingly common. These are procedures where (generally speaking) a surgeon goes in through one or several small incisions as opposed to large ones.

Some examples of these surgeries include gallbladder removals, hysterectomies, and appendectomies, which used to require larger cuts but can now be done using smaller, more precise tools. These types of procedures can also be used to treat some forms of cancer.

Improved methods mean faster recovery.

Last year, I underwent a surgery that for a long time involved really invasive work and a very lengthy recovery time. Mine, however, was an endoscopic procedure. This resulted in smaller scars, shorter recovery, and, for me, a better experience. (Thanks, technology!)

With many surgical procedures, recovery has more to do with healing the (necessary) damage that surgery itself causes. As technology improves, so will recovery. With every advance in the medical field, we should hope that risks of infection and complications diminish.

Hopefully, there will come a day where the sort of delicate precision this grape enjoys is the standard surgical treatment all humans can access.

The whole thing is really cool. You can check out the full demo here:



via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

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Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

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