Origins of surgical robotics: From space to the operating room

Árpád R. Takács, Dénes Nagy, I. Rudas, Tamás Haidegger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid development of telerobotic systems led to novel applications beyond the nuclear and industrial domains. Medical telerobotics enabled surgeons to perform medical operations from remote places, far from their patient. Telesurgery systems allow great flexibility, improved performance in general, and support the creation of ideal surgical conditions. The first attempts to develop telesurgical systems borrowed the idea from space research, where the need of novel robots emerged for invasive treatment, even under extreme situations, such as weightlessness. Telesurgical instruments on Earth appeared following the same concept, aiming first for military, then onward for civilian applications. Today, more than 1.5 million patients are receiving telerobotic treatment annually, worldwide. As the surgical robotics domain grew from the initial concepts, it developed along three major concepts: telesurgery, cooperatively controlled robots and automated (image-guided) applications. These domains continue to develop into application specific systems with the goal of reaching the specificity and versatility of conventional surgical instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-30
Number of pages18
JournalActa Polytechnica Hungarica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Space robotics
  • Surgical robotics
  • Teleoperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Engineering(all)

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  • Cite this

    Takács, Á. R., Nagy, D., Rudas, I., & Haidegger, T. (2016). Origins of surgical robotics: From space to the operating room. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 13(1), 13-30.