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Student-built robot shows off for doctors at CHI Health

Gross Catholic High School junior Abbigail Clark presents her robot to doctors at CHI Health

A robot created by a Bellevue high school student was shown off and seen by surgeons at an Omaha hospital on Wednesday.

As a bonus, the student creator got to see firsthand what surgical robots can do.

"I just really like building stuff and the thought that what I build can help people.”

Abbigail Clark is talking about her surgical robot, a machine she built in her engineering class at Gross Catholic High School.

Clark said, "I decided to put a twist on it and build a robot for the game Operation...it took about two months to build it and fully program it."

Now, those months of hard work are paying off. On Wednesday, Clark showed her robot to doctors at CHI Health and saw the real deal up close.

Clark and other classmates got to see the da Vinci robot.

Cary Ward, chief medical officer at CHI Health, said, "Machines like this allow much greater visualization of the surgical field."

The da Vinci robot Clark got to see is only for training, but doctors say it preps them for real robot-assisted surgeries.

Ward said, "They can see their uterus and all the blood vessels, the colon much better, so it can make the surgery a little more precise for the surgeon."

Clark said, "It's really crazy seeing a robot like this."

While Clark's machine is no da Vinci, doctors say the movements are very similar between the two robots.

Robert Fitzgibbons, academic chairman of surgery at Creighton University, said, “I'm impressed with what they've done."

As for Clark, she says seeing the da Vinci robot has motivated her.

Clark says for her final project this year she's going to improve the robot she built.

After high school she says she'd like to study engineering.

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