Dr Robot: Robotics and automation in the medical sector

Robotics in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector has a relatively long history, having started with a robot called the Puma 560 in 1985, according to All About Robotic Surgery.

Now, however, a number of robotic and automation systems have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for operation in healthcare environments, and the market is probably set to grow exponentially in the next few years as they become fully commercialised.

While robotic surgery systems such as Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci may be the most photogenic of the systems, gaining a lot of publicity in recent years, there are numerous other systems being developed, with some already being used in healthcare.  Continue reading Dr Robot: Robotics and automation in the medical sector

Surgeons in robotic surgery ‘world first’

 

Eureka Alert says it is “the world’s first super-microsurgical intervention with robot hands”. 

A team of plastic surgeons at Maastricht University Medical Center have used a robot to surgically treat a patient with lymphedema.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition in which fluid builds up and causes swelling in parts of the body.  Continue reading Surgeons in robotic surgery ‘world first’

Cambridge Medical Robotics raises another $26 million in funding

Cambridge Medical Robotics, a company which is developing a robotic system for minimal access surgery, has closed its Series A funding round, raising a further $26m.

The investment came from existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, LGT Global Invest, Escala Capital and ABB Technology Ventures, and new investor Watrium.

Together with the first tranche in July 2016, the Series A round has raised $46m in total.  Continue reading Cambridge Medical Robotics raises another $26 million in funding

Cambridge Medical unveils its new surgical robot

Cambridge Medical Robotics, which is developing a surgical robot, has released the first photographs of the system, Versius.

The images show the “revolutionary” design of the robot, including its “highly versatile” surgical bio-mimicking arms.

The release of the photographs marks a major milestone, says CMR, which aims to make minimal access surgery available to all the estimated 6 million people a year who could benefit and make it easier for laparoscopic surgeons to learn and perform the technique.  Continue reading Cambridge Medical unveils its new surgical robot

Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

By Chris Wagner, head of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants

Surgical robots today are large and unwieldy. This causes a number of challenges in the operating theatre. 

Setting up and managing the robots, for example, takes up valuable operating time. It’s also difficult to swap a robot in and out of a surgical procedure if traditional tools are more appropriate for some elements of an operation. And there are safety issues when clinical staff work in close proximity to a large piece of moving equipment.

So a surgeon has to weigh the benefits of surgical robotics against these limitations for each procedure where a robot is used.

There is an opportunity here – if we can simply make the robot smaller, many of these limitations disappear. It is much easier to move a small robot into an operating theatre, put it into position for an operation and move it out again afterwards. The safety concerns are also much reduced.  Continue reading Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

Kuka’s new lightweight collaborative robot for medical applications goes into series production

Kuka’s new, lightweight collaborative robot has gone into series production, says the company. 

The Kuka LBR Med – short for medical – is designed to be operated in the “immediate vicinity” of the human operator.

The robot maker sees the new cobot as having applications in the health sector, as “an assistant for tasks rehabilitation or in the operating room”.  Continue reading Kuka’s new lightweight collaborative robot for medical applications goes into series production

Brains trust: The impact of robotics on neurosurgery

In this exclusive article, Stuart Campbell, clinical sales development manager of the neurological products division at Renishaw, discusses key trends on the use of robotics in neurosurgery

The curious case of Phineas Gage is one of the earliest and most well known cases of serious brain injury. On September 13th, 1848, Gage was working as a railway foreman in Vermont when an explosion caused a three foot long iron rod to be propelled straight through his skull.

At the time, doctors thought it impossible to survive such an injury and his remarkable survival and reported personality changes affected the study of neuroscience forever. In recent years, a new technology is changing the face of neuroscience – robotics, which offers high precision access to a complex and sensitive region.

Industrial environments are rife with automation and robotic systems. The upwards trend is only increasing, with the International Federation of Robotics predicting that by 2018, 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories across the globe.  Continue reading Brains trust: The impact of robotics on neurosurgery

Cambridge Consultants demonstrates tiny robot small enough to assist in eye operations

Cambridge Consultants has been demonstrating a tiny robot which is small enough to assist in eye surgery.

The company says the “Axsis” robot heralds “the next wave of surgical robotics innovation.

Propelling surgical innovation to the next stage, product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants is showcasing Axsis – one of the smallest known robots for surgical use. With an external body the size of a drinks can and instruments only 1.8 millimetres in diameter, Axsis provides a glimpse into the future of surgical robotics.  Continue reading Cambridge Consultants demonstrates tiny robot small enough to assist in eye operations

Intuitive Surgical to develop products in China with Shanghai Fosun

Intuitive Surgical and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical have formed a joint venture to research, develop, manufacture and sell innovative, robotic-assisted catheter-based medical devices.

The joint venture between Intuitive Surgical, the global leader in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery, and Fosun Pharma, a leading healthcare group strategically comprising the complete value chain, will initially produce products targeting early diagnosis and cost-effective treatment of lung cancer, one of the most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in the world.

The technology will be used in robotic-assisted medical devices based on catheters, and incorporates proprietary intellectual property developed or owned by Intuitive Surgical.  Continue reading Intuitive Surgical to develop products in China with Shanghai Fosun

Your next nurse could be a robot, say scientists who trained one

 

operating room

Robots can successfully imitate human motions in the operating room, claim scientists

The nursing assistant for your next trip to the hospital might be a robot. This is the implication of research recently published by Dr Elena De Momi and colleagues in the open access journal Frontiers in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

Dr De Momi, of the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy, led an international team that trained a robot to imitate natural human actions. De Momi’s work indicates that humans and robots can effectively coordinate their actions during high-stakes events such as surgeries.

Over time this should lead to improvements in safety during surgeries because unlike their human counterparts robots do not tire and can complete an endless series of precise movements. The goal is not to remove human expertise from the operating room, but to complement it with a robot’s particular skills and benefits.  Continue reading Your next nurse could be a robot, say scientists who trained one

Orthopedic surgical robots to carry out joint replacement with precision

robotic surgery

Various advanced tools and techniques have been implemented by orthopedic surgeons over the past decade to improve patient outcomes.

These tools and techniques help them in improving patient outcomes and offer comfort to patients during treatment. The orthopedic surgery robots use the 3D imaging technology and computer navigation techniques to improve ability of surgeons to place implants with precise alignment.

Many studies have shown that these techniques are safer and more effective as compared to traditional surgical techniques. Continue reading Orthopedic surgical robots to carry out joint replacement with precision

The size of things to come: An exciting time for medical robotics

In this exclusive article for Robotics and Automation News, Chris Wagnerhead of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants, takes a microscopic look at the developments in medical robotics

This is an exciting time for medical robotics, as there is a proliferation of systems on the market or in development.

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci, the long-time market leader for robotic laparoscopic procedures, now has potential competition from Medtronic, Verb Surgical (backed by Google and J&J), Auris Surgical, Transenterix’s ALF-X, and Titan Medical’s Sport system.

Similarly, the orthopaedics robot market is active with Stryker’s Mako platform, Think Surgical’s TCAT system, Mazor Robotics Renaissance system for spine surgery, and Blue Belt Technologies (now owned by Smith & Nephew) Navio system.

One interesting observation is of the physical size of the various systems as compared to the active operating volume of the robot.  Continue reading The size of things to come: An exciting time for medical robotics

FDA approves Auris robotic endoscopy system

Though Auris has not unveiled its much awaited endoscopy system, the recent approval from the Food and Drug Association has got many industry experts and principal investigator sharing their opinion

How many of us would actually trust a robotic surgeon operating on us? Not many. But the new precise and dexterous medical robot approved by the FDA shows they could soon take over the operation theater.

Within the next 10 years, scientists believe computer-assisted surgery will be a popular and a standard feature in many operation rooms and critical extension of modern medical professionals, say research analysts at Allied Market Research.

Researchers analysing the growth, demand, size, and share of the Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery Market say that areas such as Silicon Valley rank among the most active regions in the United States for medical robotics and Auris Surgical Robotics has managed to gain much recognition.  Continue reading FDA approves Auris robotic endoscopy system

Disruptive technologies in surgical robotics set to shake up the market competitive landscape

The TransEnterix SurgiBot
The TransEnterix SurgiBot

Pranjal Mehta, of Big Market Research, says the surgical robotics market is set for competition, and sees an end to Intuitive Surgical’s dominance 

TransEnterix, a medical device company which designs surgical robots, announced last month that it has received an update from the US FDA on the status of its 510(k) filing for the SurgiBot System.

The 510(k) filing is a notification to the relevant US government agencies that the product is set to go to market.  Continue reading Disruptive technologies in surgical robotics set to shake up the market competitive landscape

Hong Kong University claims world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system

Prof Law (left), Prof Yeung (middle) and Prof Yung (right), with their single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery system
Prof Law (left), Prof Yeung (middle) and Prof Yung (right), with their single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery system

A team in Hong Kong is claiming to have developed the world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system for single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery. 

A statement by the the group, which comprises leading Hong Kong universities working with commercial partner companies, said the system can minimize surgical trauma and improve the safety of current robotic surgery.

The project is said to have developed a novel surgical robotic system (NSRS) with haptic (tactile) feedback and capable of single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery.

The development was initiated by Professor Yeung Chung-Kwong (Prof Yeung), honorary clinical professor at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong (HKU).  Continue reading Hong Kong University claims world’s first internally motorized minimally invasive surgical robotic system