da Vinci robotic surgical simulator opens at Discovery Science P - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

da Vinci robotic surgical simulator opens at Discovery Science Place

By Jamey Boyum

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Robots have invaded the Discovery Science Place. Well, robot arms, anyway. Don't worry, they can't move by themselves.

Trinity Mother Francis donated the devices to familiarize children with using robotic equipment. And, they took to it, well, like a kid to a robot.

 This is Zoe. And she is in control. She's playing, but those sneaky folks at Discovery Science Place are teaching her to use technology at the same time. It takes the mystery and maybe even a little fear out of using robotics.

"It has a lot of controls, so sometimes you get mixed up," Zoe said.

"So, you're not ready for surgery yet," I said.

"No," she replied.

It all came about because of da Vinci. Not the guy, the machine. The da Vinci Surgical System has been saving lives at Trinity Mother Francis Hospital since 2004, mostly driven by this guy, Dr. William F. Turner.

"The surgeon sits at a remote console. He's got three dimensional binocular vision that's magnified. And then there are two hand devices that, when the surgeon makes a move, it's transmitted to a computer processor," he said.

And the moves come out at the end of the robot's arms.

Rex Drigger, a retired Pilot and Major General, needed heart surgery, so, they didn't have to crack open his chest, and Dr. Turner just gave him a few button holes instead of a zipper.

"I had my surgery on Wednesday and left on Saturday." Rex said.

So, with a lot of practice, we could be watching two future surgeons taking their first baby steps to learning how to save lives. Or maybe just become ringers at that old crane arcade game.

The robotics hands-on display is a permanent exhibit at Discovery Science Place.

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