photo of large robotic device in clinical settingEngineers are working on robots that can carry out surgical procedures without the direct control of a surgeon, writes James Gaines (@the_jmgaines) for Knowable Magazine. Total autonomy may be a long ways off, however, given the vast biological complexity of the individual human body, its motility, and the skepticism of regulators, payers and patients. Gaines discusses some of the advances that may help overcome these challenges to making robot-conducted surgery feasible as a standard of care. Photo: U.S. Air Force