A robot has performed keyhole surgery on a pig without the guiding hand of a human for the first time, a new study reports.

Researchers say the procedure is a significant step in robotics towards fully automated operations on humans.

The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (Star) carried out the delicate keyhole – laparoscopic – surgery, which involved connecting two ends of an intestine, in four animals.

According to the study, the robot excelled at the procedure which requires a high level of precision and repetitive movements.

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