Surgeons can now use a new type of mechanical instrument to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures (also known as laparoscopic surgery). The handheld instrument is based on fundamental engineering research and provides robot-like functionality at a lower cost compared to existing robotic surgical systems. The National Science Foundation-funded technology is being commercialized by University of Michigan spinoff company FlexDex Surgical. Traditional laparoscopic instruments typically require significant training for surgeons, and can be difficult and tiresome to use. FlexDex's technology precisely translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist, and arm movements from outside the patient into corresponding movements of an end-effector inside the patient's body.