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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 401613, 14 pages
Review Article

Medical Robots: Current Systems and Research Directions

Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution, Texas A&M University, 3367 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA

Received 10 March 2012; Revised 19 June 2012; Accepted 6 July 2012

Academic Editor: Farrokh Janabi-Sharifi

Copyright © 2012 Ryan A. Beasley. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


First used medically in 1985, robots now make an impact in laparoscopy, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, emergency response, and various other medical disciplines. This paper provides a review of medical robot history and surveys the capabilities of current medical robot systems, primarily focusing on commercially available systems while covering a few prominent research projects. By examining robotic systems across time and disciplines, trends are discernible that imply future capabilities of medical robots, for example, increased usage of intraoperative images, improved robot arm design, and haptic feedback to guide the surgeon.