Dresden’s Surgical Robots

Modeling and implementing the use of artificial intelligence during operations.

September 2021

Scientists at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC) and the Technical University of Dresden have used artificial intelligence to develop the world’s first computer program to predict the use of surgical instruments before they are used.

One of the project’s directors, Professor Jürgen Weitz, said that the idea was not to replace surgeons with machines but rather to assist surgical teams, for example, through the employment of autonomous robots that could take over simple tasks such as draining blood.

The system uses an artificial neural network that imitates the human ability to learn from examples. The intelligent algorithm develops by analyzing the role of instruments in video footage of successful operations.

“Support functions are only possible if computers are able to anticipate major events and complications during operations,” says Professor Stefanie Speidel of the NCT/UCC.

In the future, autonomous robotic systems and other intelligent assistance systems will increasingly support surgical teams. (The image was created before the corona pandemic.) © NCT/UCC André Wirsig, Pressefoto