In 2012, researchers at UTMB devised an experiment involving virtual surgical tools. The researchers compared the proficiency of UTMB residents with that of high school- and college-aged gamers at controlling a robot that replicated the physical functions of surgery — and which also measured skills in 32 categories, including hand-eye coordination, pressure on the controls and time. The study reported that the high school-aged gamers (who played 2 hours of video games a day) performed better than the college-aged gamers (who played 4 hours of video games a day) and the medical residents (who had less experience of gaming than the other two groups). However, when the researchers had the groups perform a complicated surgical technique without the robotic aid from the first test, the UTMB residents were the clear leaders in this experiment, which tested a different set of cognitive traits. “The inspiration for this study first developed when I saw my son, an avid video game player, take the reins of a robotic surgery simulator at a medical convention,” lead author Dr. Sami Kilic explains. "With no formal training, he was immediately at ease with the technology and the type of movements required to operate the robot.”