Study leads to development of low-cost, high-accuracy flexible Medical Robots

In a ground-breaking development, robotics experts at the University of California have developed an easy to use, affordable system to track position of flexible surgical robots within the human body. Nonetheless, the performance of the system is at par with current art methods, and is much less expensive. Besides, many current methods require exposure to radiation, which the new system does not require.

The findings of the system developed as a joint effort of two researchers at School of Engineering at University of California is published in the April 2020 issue of IEEE Robotics.

“Continuum medical robots serve to be useful in highly constrained environments inside the body,” said one of the researcher. They are inherently safer and are more compliant than rigid tools. But the ordeal is to track their location and shape inside the human body. And, if this can be tracked easily it would be great benefit to patients as well as surgeons.

Apparatus involved Embedded Magnet at Tip of Flexible Robot

For the study, researchers embedded a magnet in the tip of a flexible robot. This flexible robot can be used in delicate parts inside the body, such as the arterial passage in the brain.

“The study involved working with a growing robot – made of very thin nylon. The growing robot is inverted almost like a sock, and pressurized with a fluid which causes the robot to grow,” said one of the researcher. Since the robot is soft and the movement is by growing, it makes negligible impact on its surroundings. This makes them ideal for medical use.

Following this, the researchers used existing magnet localization methods, which are very much like GPS, in order to develop a computer model that predicts the location of the robot.

Growing Government Funding Facilitate Advancements in Medical Robots

San Francisco, California, May 23, 2017: Medical robots are being increasingly acknowledged for their unmatched promptness and extreme precision, which are requisites for various tasks in hospitals, especially surgeries. A report by TMR Research, titled “Medical Robots Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017–2025,” offers reliable insights into the competitive scenario of the market. It takes into consideration the historic and current dynamics of the global medical robots market to estimate future trends.

The increasing awareness regarding the numerous benefits of robot-assisted training in rehabilitation therapy is boosting the demand for medical robots. Constant advancements in the robotics technology coupled with the growing investments by governments of developed regions are stoking the growth of the market. Continuous research and development activities in the field of medical robotics are opening up new applications of robots in hospitals.
However, a raft of emerging ethical and legal issues related to robot-assisted surgeries is inhibiting the growth of the global medical robots market. The high cost of robotic systems is also restricting their widespread adoption. Nevertheless, the increasing efforts by manufacturers and regulatory agencies to address various patient safety concerns are providing a tremendous boost to the global market.

On the basis of geography, the report segments the market into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. North America will account for a substantial share in the revenue pie of the global medical robots market. The presence of robust healthcare infrastructure along with the higher acceptance of technologically advanced products for medical practices is propelling the growth of the region. Asia Pacific is expected to exhibit an impressive CAGR during the review period. The increasing adoption of medical robots can be attributed to the green flag shown by various regulatory bodies in Japan for the usage of robots in several medical practices. Besides this, the growing prevalence of cancer and the rising robotic-assisted procedures in hospitals in emerging countries such as India and China are also propelling the growth of the market in APAC.

The global medical robots market is highly competitive and fragmented in nature. The market features a handful of large players and a raft of fragmented small and medium- scale companies. The market participants are competing fiercely in terms of pricing and innovation. The market is likely to witness an increase in collaborations between stakeholders in emerging regions in the near future. Some of the key companies operating in the global medical robots market are Mazor Robotics Ltd., Intuitive Surgical Inc., Hocoma AG, Stryker Corporation, Omnicell Inc., Hansen Medical Inc., Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc., Accuray Incorporated, and Kirby Lester LLC.