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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Ultramicrominiature Waldo  
  A device for transforming ordinary human hand movements into extremely small-scale surgical motions.  

I am even a gene surgeon now, in theory, and would not hesitate to be one in practice once I had time to construct the ultramicrominiature waldoes needed for such fine work. I am equally expert as obstetrician and gynecologist and rejuvenator.
From Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Putnam in 1973
Additional resources -

Although this was published relatively late in Heinlein's career, he wrote about this basic idea much earlier. In his original 1940 story Waldo, he described "tiny pixie hands" (waldoes) used for very fine work.

As far as I know, however, the idea of micro-surgery was first named and described by Raymond Z. Gallun in his 1939 short story Masson's Secret; see the entry for microsurgery tool.

Compare also to the microrobot from The Scarab (1936) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the ultra-microrobot from Menace in Miniature (1937) also by Gallun, waldo from Waldo (1942) by Robert Heinlein, the golden shuttles from The Mechanical Mice (1941) by Maurice Hugi, the autofac nanorobots from Autofac (1955) by Philip K. Dick, the nanomachine swarm from The Invincible (1954) by Stanislaw Lem, the Christmas Bush robot from Rocheworld by Robert Forward and the robot cells from Robot City (1987) by Michael Kube-McDowell.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Time Enough For Love
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Time Enough For Love
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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