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Surgical robot gets a bendable 'wrist' (Tomorrow Daily 215)

Khail and Ashley check out a surgical robot with a "wrist" that can bend into tight spots, discuss an unauthorized (but very cool) demo for a "Star Wars" VR game and explain with a university in Singapore is deploying robot swans.

We hope you're currently enjoying your Monday. If you're not, perhaps take a break and watch today's show, since we've got some interesting and entertaining news for you to mull over.

Vanderbilt University spent six years developing a needle that could bend around important, immovable spots in the human body to make delicate surgeries less invasive. They're getting there with this prototype device that has a bendable "wrist" surgeons can manipulate to perform actions that require precision. It's not going to appear in your nearest operating room tomorrow, but it's a great step toward faster healing and smaller incisions for certain kinds of surgery.

We're also discussing an unauthorized video showcasing a virtual-reality game set in the "Star Wars" universe. It's pretty impressive to look at, but since nothing's official, all we can do is enjoy this cool demo and keep our fingers crossed that Disney/Lucasfilm wants a piece of the action.

Lastly, a team in Singapore is using a fun facade to test pollution levels in local waters: a robot swan! That's right, this robo-bird looks like a calmly swimming swan, and it can test things like chlorophyll and oxygen levels in water. It's a great way to get levels without disturbing surrounding wildlife.

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Here are some links and notes for all the things on the show today:

  • Vanderbilt University's "bendable needle" is really, really small
  • "Star Wars" VR demo is unauthorized, but still looks cool
  • Robot swans swim around Singapore, test pollution levels
  • Back It or Hack It: Helix, a stylish wrist wearable hiding Bluetooth headphones
  • User Feedback: Your #TD452b feedback, and our Phonetographer of the Day

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