Imagine high-tech VR-enabled robots controlled by your surgeon to perform the abdominal operation with maximum precision and control. Sounds like a sci-fi movie scene, right? But this is what we are heading towards in reality.
With rapidly advancing technology, another breakthrough that’s stealing the spotlight is robotic surgery. Never before have surgeries been this advanced, thanks to the next-generation surgical robots. These robots are wholly controlled by the surgeon, have a human equivalent motion with the added advantages of the latest technology.
Now that’s interesting!
Vicarious Surgical has developed a tiny next-generation robot that’s all set to transform how abdominal surgeries are performed today. What makes it unique is its size and its response via VR-enabled controls.
This means unparalleled visibility and increased precision to perform complex operations, all with minimal incision.
Designed by CEO Adam Sachs and co-founders Sammy Khalifa and Dr. Barry Greene, the robot is expected to hit the markets by 2023 and democratize robotic surgeries worldwide.
Vicarious Surgical Robots are designed for maximum capability
The VR-enabled surgical robot is built to shrink the surgeon virtually inside the human body. For this, the robot is given a human-like motion feature. It replicates the surgeon’s upper body and boasts 9 degrees of freedom and 26 sensors per arm.
This eliminates the surgeon’s elbow inside the abdomen and gives an extended capability to operate anywhere.
The developers of the surgical robot believe that humans are not of the right size to operate on other humans. This idea led them to design a tiny robot with only two robotic arms and a camera. It can reach and operate anywhere inside the abdomen through a single incision. As a result, the entire procedure becomes much more straightforward and results in quicker recovery.
The patient cart is the part of the system that is responsible for the operation. It sits near the patient and consists of the robot that goes inside the abdomen. The integration of Virtual Reality is what makes the robot stand out.
The system has a surgeon console where the surgeon controls the robot. It has a 3D screen and hand controllers that allow 360-degree visibility and complete control.
So your operation is done safely while allowing your surgeon to achieve enhanced reach and performance. The entire system is portable and small in size, which makes it easier to assemble the setup.
A peek into VR-enabled Surgical Robots assisted surgery
Hernia repair is the first market that Vicarious Surgical is targeting. According to the current standards, the mesh is attached to the abdominal wall, and the procedure is complex and usually takes up to 4 hours.
The company unveiled a video showing its robot pushing the mesh into the abdominal cavity and sewing it up. With the help of Vicarious robots, the mesh can be tucked up against the rectus muscles, making it long-lasting, and the operation is performed in less than an hour. The surgery is micro and faster, meaning it is safer for the patients and simpler for surgeons.
Redefining robotic surgery: What can it change?
The Vicarious trio hopes to redefine the surgery experience where the existing robots are struggling to an extent. This is relatively important as surgery requires a lot of planning, and execution can quickly become complicated.
It was thus essential to building a system that’s not just precise but also includes actuation in a small package.
While minimal invasive surgical robots have been present for some time now, their high cost and operational difficulty are a concern. This VR-enabled robot is all set to solve these problems.
The Vicarious Surgical CEO Adam Sachs says,
“We believe our robotic solution will offer a cost-effective path to improving patient outcomes and increasing the efficiency of surgical procedures for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.”
Suppose you feel this is something out of your favorite sci-fi movie. In that case, you will be further amazed that this futuristic technology is loved and backed by investors including Bill Gates, Vinod Khosla (Sun Microsystems), Eric Schmidt (EX-CEO of Google), Jerry Yang (Founder-Yahoo), and Philip Liang (E15VC).
It is the first robot that has received FDA breakthrough designation. This reflects the potential that this surgical robot has, and we are eager to see how it changes the surgical experience of patients and hospitals.