robot doctors and teachers

Robot Doctors

and Teachers



routine surgery incredible
suture common conventional
decide precisely mechatronics
enlarge minimize patient (2)
shaky prostate launch (2)
ahead appendix tongue (2)
sort eliminate monotonous
block sterilize humanoid
adjunct standard personnel
human migrant not necessarily
ability filter out





Robotic surgery is not yet standard in Germany, but it’s routine in the US. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer, and uses 3-D glasses to see where to precisely place the sutures.

The director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics believes this technology will soon become common in Europe.

Alin Albu-Schaffer, Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics: “Just like in conventional operations, the surgeon decides where and what to cut. But he now has a tool in his hands that is much more precise.

It can enlarge or minimize his movements and filter out shaky movements. That way the movements become much more exact, and that makes the operation more precise.”

But also more expensive: this surgical robot currently costs one-and-a-half million Euros.

But its price is already falling, just ahead of this official launch.

It’s expected to be especially helpful for prostate and appendix operations.

Medical technology is one of the fastest growing industries. This robot sterilizes and sorts surgical instruments. That saves personnel costs in hospitals.

But Dr. Albu-Schaffer does not believe it will eliminate jobs.

Dr. Albu-Schaffer: The workers who have to do these monotonous tasks, who spend eight hours a day sorting the same surgical instruments will of course be overjoyed to be able to do other jobs.”

At the University of Bielefeld, scientists are testing the humanoid robot, Now, which helps teach languages to children.

Four year old Timo is learning English.

Now, Robot: “Now it’s your turn. What color is the block?”
Timo: “Blue.”

The robot does not replace a teacher, but only functions as an important adjunct to a human instructor.

Christina Bergmann, University of Bielefeld: “A technical system like this is of course incredibly patient. It explains something for the hundredth time, just as kindly as it did the first time.

If we consider the language training of migrant children, of course the teachers here in Germany may not necessarily speak the child’s mother tongue.

But we will soon be able to give the robot the ability to speak to them in their mother tongues.”

Now won’t just teach; the kids will also be able to play with him. But it will take some work to give him the ability to keep up with child’s play.

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1. Germany is the leading country for robotics. Yes or no?

2. Do robots autonomously operate on patients? Why do they use robot arms and hands in surgery?

3. Are surgical robots cheap or expensive? Are they become more expensive?

4. Robots in hospitals only help perform operations (surgery). True or false? According to the experts, is this good or bad?

5. Robot teachers will eventually replace real teachers. Is this right or wrong?

6. What example does the scientist give regarding robots in the classroom?

7. Can robots play with children?


A. Would you like to have an operation using robot arms and hands?

B. Are there robots in your company or institution? Are there any jobs in your organization that could be performed by robots?

C. How do your friends or coworkers feel about robots and automation?

D. I would like a robot in my house. Yes or no?

E. Do you believe the experts who say robots won’t eliminate jobs?

F. What will happen in the future?

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