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article imageRobotic advances for MedTech

By Tim Sandle     Jul 17, 2017 in Science
Medical technology looks set to be transformed by robotics, with several innovative projects underway. Among these are Google's forays into digital surgery platforms.
Robotics are set to alter the way medical professionals interact with patients. Some applications of the technology are already with us, such as telemanipulators, which are devices that use the surgeon's actions on one side to control the "effector" on the other side. These devices have been used in laparoscopy, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and with emergency response.
Different types of medical technology robots include:
Surgical robots: Robots that allow surgical operations to be carried out with greater precision and devices that allow remote surgery where a human surgeon is not physically present with the patient.
Rehabilitation robots: This includes robots that facilitate and supports infirm, elderly people, or those with dysfunction of body parts effecting movement. Such robots can aid with training and therapy.
Biorobots: These are robots designed to imitate the cognition of humans and animals.
Telepresence robots: Robots with allow off-site medical professionals to move, look around, communicate, and participate from remote locations.
READ MORE: Surgical Robotics: The Next 25 Years
From these established beginnings, research into robotics for medical technology is continuing. In this Digital Journal feature, we take a look at three examples.
First up is a device called daVinci. This robot has been tested out in a wide variety of fields, including head, neck and urologic surgery. While the surgeon is in complete control of the system at all times, the machine has greater reach and flexibility, smaller incisions made with more precision are enough to access the problem areas:
From start-up to established 'big name, IBM has announced the creation of the new IBM Multipurpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (MERA). The MERA, according to QMed, uses Watson-enabled technology, and it is designed to assist the elderly and their caregivers. IBM has undertaken the development in collaboration with Italy's Sole Cooperativa. The first use of the technology will be with the implementation of sensor technologies into the device to monitor the daily activities of elderly residents.
The final example involves Earlier this year, Verb Surgical (a company backed by Google-parent Alphabet). Verb has announced it is to partner with Johnson & Johnson to develop robot surgeons. The company calls this "democratizing robotic surgery." By this, Scott Huennekens, who is leading the joint venture, means: "I would describe this as democratized surgery. We are on the verge of revolutionizing this market by bringing advanced robotics, advanced instruments, advanced imaging, machine learning, cloud and data computing, so it’s a super exciting time."
READ MORE: How artificial intelligence is reshaping medicine
The expected output will be a digital surgery platform focused on five factors: advanced robotics, advance visualization, advanced instrumentation, data analytics combined with machine learning and simulation, and connectivity.
More about Medical Technology, Robotics, Robots, Biomedicine
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