UW robot appears in futuristic “Ender’s Game”

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People who design robots, unsurprisingly, are often into science fiction. This is why the folks behind the University of Washington Raven II surgical robot were so excited about the recent gig of their creation.

The directors of the movie “Ender’s Game”, based on Orson Scott Card’s classic book, contacted the UW BioRobotics Laboratory to see how to use Raven II in the movie.

“‘Ender’s Game’ is one of those iconic science fiction books,” said Hawkeye King, a PhD student at the University of Washington, in a university article. When the people in the lab heard, he added, “everyone’s jaw dropped collectively.”

King and Lee White, then a PhD student in bioengineering at UW, transported the robot to New Orleans, where they helped make it look less like a lab machine and decide how it should be used. , then operated his four arms for over 14 hours of filming, sitting next door behind a curtain.

“We were really part of the creative process to bring the robot to the set,” King said in the UW report.


In the film, the robot “performs” brain surgery on one of the characters. Look for him about an hour later.

This all happened over a year ago, with the students swearing to keep it a secret until now. And yes, they did hang out with Harrison Ford.

Back in reality, Raven robots do not yet operate on humans. Most of the time, universities use them to design and test new hardware and software for remote surgery.

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