By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Middle school students from a Philadelphia private school took part today in Temple University Hospital‘s annual robotics career day.

Under the guidance of doctors and staff, fifth- and sixth-graders from Germantown Academy were taught the basics of robotic surgery with the tools the pros use.

Dr. Sloane Guy (top photo), chief of cardiac and robotic surgery at Temple, says this is not unfamiliar turf to a generation of kids born into a virtual electronic world.

“When they  play a video game at home and they manipulate something, they see an image of that happening,” he notes.  “But here, when they are manipulating the instruments, it’s actually live instruments that are moving.”

And the students didn’t seem to have any problem using robotic pincers to work with tiny rubber bands.

 

(A student tries her hand at manipulating robotic surgery equipment while two other students watch her progress on a video monitor.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(A student tries her hand at manipulating robotic surgery equipment while two other students watch her progress on a video monitor. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

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The kids’ consensus: it’s much more interactive and immersive than a video game.

“It’s a little bit easier,” said one.  “I liked it better because it was real life instead of on a screen. And also it was 3-D instead of 2-D.”

Dr. Guy says this kind of experience can have a life-changing impact.

“I don’t think it’s inconceivable that one of the kids that went through this today will ultimately become a heart surgeon and do robotics,” he said.