Surgery Without Stitches In Sight Thanks To ‘Origami Tools’

Mechanical engineers who have applied the principles of origami to make tools smaller and more compact for spaceflight are now using their knowledge to create tiny, robotic surgical instruments. They foresee surgical incisions becoming so small they can heal on their own – without sutures or stitches.


Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT, have already licensed some of their origami-inspired technology to Intuitive Surgical, makers of the da Vinci surgical robot that enables surgeons to carry out operations like prostate removal through a few, small incisions.

Larry Howell and Spencer Magleby, professors of mechanical engineering at BYU are leading the group working on the origami surgical technology.

Prof. Howell says the goal is for smaller and smaller incisions, and:

To that end, we’re creating devices that can be inserted into a tiny incision and then deployed inside the body to carry out a specific surgical function.”