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Press Release 05-100
Robot Assistant Reports to Surgery

Machine lets nurses focus on patient care

Penelope in surgery
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Penelope SIS delivers a surgical tool to doctors removing a benign tumor from a patient's forearm.
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June 21, 2005

For the first time, a robot acting independently and without a human operator has aided doctors performing surgery. On June 16, the Penelope Surgical Instrument Server (SIS) successfully delivered and retrieved instruments for a NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Pavilion surgical team as they removed a benign tumor from a patient's forearm.

Michael Treat, one of the hospital's surgeons and a professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University Medical Center, developed Penelope to perform some of the more mechanical and repetitive surgical tasks, thereby enabling nurses to concentrate on patient care.

The official press announcement released by the university, the hospital, and Robotic Surgical Tech, Inc.--the Columbia University Medical Center spin-off founded by Treat to develop Penelope SIS and related technologies -- can be found at: http://global.med.cornell.edu/news/nyp/nyp_2005/06_16_05.shtml

An NSF Discovery on Penelope also is available:

Robots in the OR -- Stat!


Penelope was developed in part with funding from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research program through the following grants:

SBIR Phase I: Robotic Scrub Technician

SBIR Phase II: Robotic Scrub Technician

Penelope's development was also supported by grants from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Center for Advanced Information Management at Columbia University, New York State Office of Science, Technology & Academic Research, U.S. Army Medical Research & Material Command's Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, jchamot@nsf.gov
Craig LeMoult, Columbia University, (212) 305-0820, cel2113@columbia.edu
Bryan Dotson, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Pavilion, (212) 305-5587, brd9005@nyp.org
Patrice E. Downey, Robotic Surgical Tech, Inc., (718) 432-0100, pdowney@roboticsurgicaltech.com

Program Contacts
Om P. Sahai, NSF, (703) 292-7795, osahai@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Michael R. Treat, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Pavilion and Columbia University Medical Center, (718) 432-0100, mt23@columbia.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Penelope SIS delivers a Richardson Retractor to the surgeons
Penelope SIS delivers a Richardson Retractor to the surgeons.
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Michael Brady of Robotic Surgical Tech tests the Penelope SIS robotic arm prior to surgery.
Michael Brady of Robotic Surgical Tech tests the Penelope SIS robotic arm prior to surgery.
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Surgeon Spencer Amory returns the Richardson Retractor to the Penelope SIS "transfer zone."
Surgeon Spencer Amory returns the Richardson Retractor to the Penelope SIS "transfer zone."
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Penelope prepares for surgery
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Penelope SIS prepares for her surgical debut.
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