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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 00:26 GMT
NHS robot takes up Bond role
Da Vinci features in one of the early scenes
A state-of-the-art robot from one of London's top hospitals has landed an unlikely starring role in the latest James Bond movie.

The Da Vinci robot has been used to perform surgery on over 60 patients at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington during the past year. The infamous 007 has now been added to that list.

Da Vinci was called into action in some of the earliest scenes of the forthcoming movie 'Die Another Day'.


Both the producers and director thought this machine was fantastic. It's a very important part of the film

Sarah Robinson, Bond production team
The machine scans Bond's body and takes a blood sample in what turns out to be a vital role.

Its life-saving abilities enable the secret agent to pursue questionable characters from Korea to London to Cuba and back to Korea again over the course of the action-packed two hours.

Strong performance

Doctors at St Mary's Hospital say Da Vinci performed well in the role.

Professor Ara Darzi, from Imperial College London, suggested the robot and the secret agent were a lot more alike than people may initially think.

"Surgeons and spies are alike as both aspire to serve their subjects with minimal fuss while using the best technologies around.

Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan
Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan star in the movie
"Bond films have always been an inspiration to those with a technology interest.

"I never thought that one day, the department I headed would be making a contribution.

"It's great that Imperial College and the NHS's know-how has made it to the movie screen."

Sarah Robinson, product placement co-ordinator on the movie, echoed that view.

"Both the producers and director thought this machine was fantastic. It's a very important part of the film.

"It's very difficult to keep up with new technology - we have to be one step ahead and try and come up with great new products, which is where the Da Vinci came in."

Key surgery

When it's not lined up to star in blockbuster movies, the robotic surgeon is used on patients with abdominal, urological and oesophageal problems.

It is one of the world's first minimal access systems designed to eliminate the tremor in a surgeon's hand.

It also enables patients to recover from major operations more quickly.

Doctors at St Mary's are now working on plans to promote Da Vinci to carry out even more specialised key-hole heart surgery.

Peter Lamon, a production designer on the Bond movie, said they were delighted to have been able to use it.

"I'd seen the Da Vinci on Tomorrow's World and in Time magazine.

"It's an amazing machine for non-invasive surgery and I thought we'd have to make a mock-up. I was delighted when we found at St Mary's."



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08 Jan 01 | Health
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
28 Aug 02 | England
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