A company by the name of Virtual Incision paired with researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to push the limits of remote surgery. The team has developed a tiny robot (roughly the size of a fist) that can perform procedures such as perforating gastric ulcers, suturing wounds and performing appendectomies in zero gravity. The robot enters through an incision in the navel where it inflates the abdomen with inert gas to create room for the two, tool-tipped arms to work. The device is then controlled remotely by a human surgeon.
At a time when NASA funding prevents astronauts from keeping a DaVinci robot on board the International Space station, a development such as this provides hope for long term missions in deep space where medical emergencies can be catastrophic. The first experiments testing the robot will begin on earth in the Summer of 2014 in conditions which mimic zero gravity.