Operation by Remote Control

by Michael Porter
The second and sixth graders witnessed an astonishing demonstration of medical technology in February. Representatives from Baptist Medical Center Beaches presented the Davinci surgery robot to a roomful of amazed students and a few parents.
Mr. Jarret Dreicer, President of Baptist Medical Center Beaches, and a parent of three JCDS students, arranged this event for our school.
"Baptist Beaches was getting a new surgical robot and when that happens, they like to visit a local school so that students can learn about it," said Director of Operations and Facilities Jennifer Highsmith. "Jarret Dreicer approached us about this special opportunity."

Delivering the robot and its related components was a major undertaking, as this device is massive. It took about an hour and a half to unload the various components from the specially padded truck and set them up in the auditorium.
Technology Specialist Cristina Knodel was excited that her second graders, who just completed a unit on robotics, were able to see the demonstration.

"Seeing how coding can be directly applied to something as critical and impactful as surgical procedures can be incredibly inspiring for young minds," said Ms. Knodel. "It gives them a glimpse into the real-world possibilities and motivates them to dive deeper into their studies, knowing that their skills could one day contribute to groundbreaking innovations like the surgery robot."
Robots are important tools in fields which require precision, such as manufacturing and, of course, surgery.
"The human hand only has so much rotation," Mr. Dreicer said. "When you use the robot for specific surgeries it allows the patients to leave the hospital sooner."
When the surgeon manipulates the controller while looking through the 3D video display, the robot actuates the mechanism on a microscopic basis, which allows for very meticulous movement. Often, this can be accomplished using a smaller incision in the patient.

Dr. Brian Dalton, one of the surgeons who participated in the demonstration, shared that studies have indicated that playing video games makes one better at robotic surgery — much to the delight of the students!
The surgeons showed the robot's capabilities by stacking tiny rubber bands on spikes, unwrapping a piece of candy, and finding the word "Florida" on the back of a 5-dollar bill.
To make the visit even more special, our students were permitted to give the robot a name.
"Second and sixth graders gathered together before the presentation to learn more about the robot and what it can do via images and videos. Together with their buddies, they brainstormed possible ideas to name the robot and wrote them on pieces of paper," said Ms. Knodel.
The paper slips with the names were put in a hat. Sixth grader Louis J. was selected to actually use the robot to pull the winning name from the hat.

The name chosen was Courage, which was a selection from Jacob W., Archer N., and Ellis C.
Head of School Christopher Johnson was very impressed with the students' reactions to the event.
"Hands on, inspirational, and a great example of the community coming together to support JCDS children," said Mr. Johnson. "It was moving to hear Julian's first question to the surgeons: 'Could this technology allow disabled people to become surgeons in the future?' I was so proud of the JCDS character on display, and we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity given by Jarret Dreicer and Baptist Medical Center Beaches."