Scalpel please, robot: Penelope's debut in the operating room

Anna Kochan (Associate Editor of Industrial Robot)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Aims to demonstrate how robot technology, machine vision, voice recognition and artificial intelligence can be applied to creating an automated surgeon's assistant that is functional and cost‐effective.


Presents the development process that led to the construction of the Penelope Surgical Instrument Server (SIS), outlines the mechanical design of the robot, describes the control strategy and reports on the first real live implementation in an operating room. Machine vision, voice recognition and artificial intelligence are combined to create a robot assistant that is able to anticipate a specific surgeon's needs for a specific surgical procedure.


Finds that a robot can manage an array of surgical instruments and present the right one to the surgeon at the right time.

Practical implications

A robot for assisting a surgeon can relieve support staff in hospital operating rooms of repetitive tasks and thereby improve patient care.


Introduces the concept of a robot for assisting surgeons in operating rooms and freeing up scarce financial and human resources to provide for better nursing coverage in patient care areas.



Kochan, A. (2005), "Scalpel please, robot: Penelope's debut in the operating room", Industrial Robot, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 449-451.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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