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Peel me a grape—and then watch the da Vinci surgical robot suture the grape back together

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Intuitive Surgical has worked with Xilinx since 2003 to speed the delivery of increasingly advanced da Vinci robotic surgical system capabilities to operating rooms. Multiple generations of the da Vinci system have heavily relied on Xilinx devices going all the way back to the days of the Virtex-2 Pro FPGA to deliver the speed and flexibility required from a finely controlled robotic surgical system. (Note: The latest 16nm Virtex UltraScale All Programmable devices are now many, many generations ahead of those 0.13μm Virtex-2 Pro days.)


According to David Powell, Principal Design Engineer for Intuitive Surgical, “As we started using the Xilinx device, we discovered it to be quite a nice design platform—so nice, in fact, that follow-on platforms have evolved to employ dozens of Xilinx FPGAs in all of the main system components. Our first board to employ a Xilinx FPGA was up and running in two hours. After that, we found we could get a board up and running in just minutes—these kind of results are almost unheard of.”


If you want to know more about how Intuitive Surgical is using Xilinx All Programmable devices to speed product development, improve performance, and reduce systems costs (in horse racing, that’s called a “trifecta”), then take a look at “Medical Robotics Improve Patient Outcomes and Satisfaction.”


I’m more of a seeing is believing kind of guy, so here’s a 2-minute video showing a da Vinci surgical robot suturing up the skin of a grape—which someone has obviously peeled—and there’s a surprise ending you won’t want to miss:







From the article about Intuitive Surgical in Xcell Journal, Issue 77:


Powell pointed to a close partnership with Xilinx’s technical staff, sales force and executives as another key to success. “We know Xilinx devices backwards and forwards now, and this really helps us make a difference in many lives,” he said. “It always comes back to the patients. We hear from people every day who tell us how a new procedure changed or saved their life. That’s what motivates us to deliver the best technology.”