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A New Robot Can Drill Through a Skull in Under 3 Minutes

The future of cranial surgery is here.

The drill in action.
The drill in action. University of Utah/Used with Permission

Forget highly paid surgeons, the future of drilling into people’s skulls is going to the robots, and thanks to a new type of drill developed at the University of Utah, they can now do it 50 times faster than a human with a hand drill.

According to CNN Tech, medical researchers looking to improve the process of drilling through a patient’s skull during surgery have created a new automated tool that can complete the process in just two and a half minutes. A human surgeon usually takes around two hours to complete the same process with a hand drill.

This dramatic improvement is not just a timesaver, but it is also safer in some respects, as it limits the amount of time the patient needs to have an open wound.

The drill charts its path through the delicate geography of the skull based on data collected from CT scans, which create a map and allow the $100,000 drill to avoid things like nerves or the sinuses. A doctor is still required to stand by and monitor the drill’s progress.

While it is not available for widespread use, the researchers are hoping it can become commercially available soon. Just one more skilled robot to fear.