In this medical video learn how engineers and surgeons are teaming up to make robotic surgery in space a reality. We'll show you their amazing first attempts at long-distance medicine.
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Jennifer Matthews: In the middle of a California desert, doctors perform a revolutionary surgical procedure. The simulated patient is in one place, and the surgeon is in another, operating through a robot. Surgeon Timothy Broderick initially operates from a few miles away in Simi Valley. Then he tests the technology, a few-thousand miles away in Seattle. Timothy Broderick: We will be able to operate no matter where the patient is. Jennifer Matthews: A prototype plane provides the communication link, instead of satellites, which can take too long. Timothy Broderick: For example, you watch a TV interview and someone's over in Iraq, and we're here in the states, they have to wait for a second to hear the question and then answer, we can't do that if we're operating on somebody. Jennifer Matthews: The plane allows the video to come up with minimal delay, so Broderick can guide the robotic arms. An engineering team at the University of Washington designed the compact robot. Blake Hannaford: There's a lot of cutting-edge technology, and each piece has to be working for the whole system to work. Jennifer Matthews: They hope this will be a way to treat soldiers and astronauts with trauma injuries but say that general public could also benefit. Blake Broderick: Obviously, if it works on the battlefield or up in space, it's going to work down here on the ground. The spin offs are amazing. Jennifer Matthews: Like using it in rural areas or during natural disasters, Broderick says there are some glitches to resolve but this could be the surgery of the 21st century. I am Jennifer Matthews reporting.

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