Faculty Seminar: Re-engineering Surgery – The Rise of Robots in the Operating Room


Watch video of Robert J. Webster III’s talk which covers several examples of novel surgical robots, ranging from “tentacle-like” robots that are the diameter of needles for endonasal surgery, to swallowable endoscopic capsule robots that can accomplish surgery in the intestines and are thus making the Fantastic Voyage foreseen by Asimov a reality. Robots are becoming increasingly valuable surgical devices, enabling physicians to reach into the body less invasively and treat diseases more accurately than has ever before been possible. Vanderbilt is at the forefront of this area of research, establishing the Vanderbilt Initiative for Surgery and Engineering this year, a unique partnership between the schools of Engineering and Medicine.

Robert J. Webster III, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of surgical robotics and medical device design, and is a recipient of the IEEE Volz award for Ph.D. thesis impact, and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University in 2002, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and 2007, respectively.

Matthew Redd, 615-343-4470