Imagine this scenario. A man is lying unconscious on a table whilst a mechanical spider descends from the ceiling. Its steel arms enter his abdomen, probing. After a while it emerges with one arm holding a sealed plastic bag with tissue in it. Science fiction or horror. Neither, this is fact. Da Vinci robots are in use in over 1000 locations around the world. The da Vinci system means the surgeon no longer handles the instruments directly, but via a computer console. This allows greater precision, as large hand gestures can be scaled down to small instrument movements, and any hand tremor is eliminated. The surgeon need not be in the same hospital, or even on the same continent as the patient.