Modern laparoscopic surgeries may be minimally invasive, but they still require multiple incisions. To make laparoscopies even less intrusive, scientists and surgeons at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University have built a robot that can enter the body through a single 15-millimeter incision or through a natural opening like the mouth. Once inside the body the robot, which has not yet been tested in humans, unfolds like a NASA spaceship, communicates its position through a wire connected to an external computer, and follows instructions to advance, stop, tie sutures and perform other actions. It comes with a camera that tracks the movements of surgical instruments and projects them onto a computer console. Developers say it could perform appendectomies, hysterectomies, some types of kidney surgery, and possibly ear and throat surgery.