By Andres Tamayo
As conferees learned, the arms of the Da Vinci Xi robot can pick up small objects–and perform precise surgeries.
MIAMI, Fla. (May 5, 2015)—Victor Cruz, a computer engineer with Goverlan, Inc., sat with his head down and eyes focused in a 3-D simulator for the da Vinci Xi surgical robot at the Miami Beach Convention Center last Monday.
Gina Avellan, a representative for the robot, stood to his right, facing a crowd that had gathered to watch one of many simulated surgeries throughout the day. “Now, with your left hand, grab the rubber ring and place it here,” she said as she circled a ring on a raised screen for the group of visitors to see. “Good,” she exclaimed as Cruz impressively completed the task.
The Xi robot, a four-armed behemoth developed to help surgeons perform precise surgeries, is currently being used by UM surgeons and is one of the University’s most prized possessions.
“It’s mind-blowing,” Cruz said as he paused from the excitement of completing his first surgery. “It’s mind-blowing how natural the movements are. I would have never thought that a robot’s motion would be that natural.”
Xi, as it is commonly called, was one of many innovations that UM showcased at the second annual eMerge Americas technology conference May 1-5.
UM also displayed state-of-the-art work being conducted at the School of Architecture, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Center for Computational Science (CCS) with the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. The School of Architecture featured an interactive social media coffee table that attracted tweets and Instagram posts based on certain hashtags embedded in coffee cups.
The Rosenstiel School boasted a fish tank full of mahi-mahi fry while the School of Business Administration showcased entrepreneurship and The Launch Pad, an on-campus accelerator that offers advice to UM students and alumni looking to start their own companies. The Office of Civic and Community Engagement and CCS demonstrated the Miami Affordability Project (MAP)—showing off a drone used for mapping cities in need of new infrastructure—for Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and JPMorgan Chase representatives. Chase is the lead funder of MAP, a free, publicly accessible tool developed by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement to visualize neighborhood-level housing market dynamics and develop data-driven community development strategies.
The conference, which aims to make Miami the technology hub of the Americas, was expected to attract 10,000 local, national, and international visitors over the five days. It is quickly becoming a showcase for businesses, higher education institutions, and others wanting to explain and explore the latest trends occurring in the technology and health sectors.
Various UM officials and faculty spoke during breakout sessions on May 4, including Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc; Architecture Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury; Eugene Anderson, dean of the School of Business Administration; and Norma Kenyon, chief innovation officer at the Miller School of Medicine. They spoke about the challenges Miami faces to attract and keep entrepreneurial talent in South Florida.
“We need to help our students learn to be entrepreneurs, and you can’t do that without creating a culture of entrepreneurship,” LeBlanc said.