"But things like stapling, stitching, cutting from point A to point B could be automated."
One other thing (and probably the most important) that I wanted to mention as to why I don't think we will see true automated surgery any time soon is the issue of liability. Right now, if something goes wrong during surgery, most of the liability is spread out amongst the doctors and hospitals. Automating surgeries (or parts thereof) begins to tip that equation on it's head and is something I doubt ISRG would desire.
"If nothing else, we could have current machine learning algorithms observing and learning enough to warn of potential errors while amassing knowledge to be used later."
We can't be sure that it isn't already happening...once again, it may take a compilation of several years worth of data to structure and analyze before it can be put to practical use as a viable solution.
"Also, why haven't we taken up the full range of Novadaq's offerings?"
Actually, I don't understand why ISRG hasn't outright bought them. They have products that nicely complement the da Vinci systems and it allows ISRG to smartly diversify - IMO.
While it might be innovative if they accomplished this, how would this really improve the financials? First of all it would take several years of working proof for people to feel comfortable with this mode and a surgeon would have to be present irregardless. There are so many variables in even a "routine" operation that is extremely hard to program and account for all of the permutations.
With the newest model, I think ISRG has given surgeons what they have been asking for. I doubt automated surgeries are high on the request list..
WOOOOWWW - JackStraw created his BIG yahoo ID today just so he could spew his shorty scare paragraphs.............................I just can't wait to hear what the next BIG yahoo ID ending in "1236" has to say.