Medical robotics research included one of the first trials involving robots in accident surgery. The DFG-funded project REPOROBO (Repositioning Robot) demonstrated the ability of an industrial robot for the repositioning of a bone following fracture. This demonstration employed an impactive robot gripper capable of prehending the fixture without the danger of slippage. The robot was capable of applying forces of up to 300N and could hold the position steady over many hours. Furthermore, should the patient move, data from a 3D inclination sensor could be used to allow the robot to follow the movements which maintaining prehension.
Although at that time not medically approved for use on live patients it clearly demonstrated the ability of robots to assist in surgery. The image shown to left depicts an impactive gripper prehending the carbon fibre shaft of a surgical fixture. Prehension at the point of connection between the shaft and the stainless steel pin resulted in retention with zero degrees of freedom - perfect form closure.