Budding scientists, engineers and doctors lined up to try surgical robots from Intuitive Surgical at a science festival in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Scott Hensley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Scott Hensley/NPR

Young-min Kwon of Massachusetts General Hospital holds the metal-alloy ball of Susy Mansfield's faulty artificial hip joint. The yellowish tissue on top is dead muscle caused by a reaction to the metal debris produced by the defective hip implant. Richard Knox/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Richard Knox/NPR

Doctors who talk to a patient before surgery are less likely to operate on the wrong limb than those who first see the patient when he or she arrives in the operating room. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com