Your tumor is awaiting surgery. You want your surgeon’s cuts to be precise and accurate, remove as little healthy tissue as possible, and leave behind no tumor fragments that might cause a recurrence. The surgeon you want is named STAR for Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot. STAR’s inventors from the University of Maryland presented recent research at the robotics conference IROS 2017 demonstrating the robot’s superiority over human surgeons. For the study, the researchers purchased three varieties of pig tissue at a butchershop. STAR first had to prove its ability to make precise cuts in these three types of irregular soft tissue, which can at first resist a cutting tool and then suddenly give way, causing the tool to make inaccurate cuts. STAR visually tracks both its intended cutting path and its cutting tool. The robot relies on tiny marks that the researchers place on the tissue beforehand, which show up on its near-infrared camera, making STAR a semi-autonomous robot. When the robot and the human surgeons were judged based on how much they deviated from the ideal cut line of the desired length, as well as how much char (damaged flesh) surrounded their incisions, STAR’s cuts were closer in length to 5 centimeters, they deviated less from the ideal cut line, and they resulted in less char.