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Medical robotics continues its spectacular march ahead inside mainstream drugs. From new purposes to new applied sciences, the sector demonstrated spectacular progress during the last yr.
However there’s nonetheless unbelievable room to develop, and waiting for 2024, there are a couple of clear areas of alternative.
Market circumstances align for progress
The apply of robotics in medical procedures has come a great distance in a short while. The primary robotic-assisted surgical procedure on a reside affected person was carried out nearly 40 years in the past. Now, it’s an $18 billion world market and is estimated to develop to $83 billion by 2032. Intuitive Surgical experiences that its da Vinci techniques alone have carried out 12 million procedures.
However this solely scratches the floor of what’s potential. Extra surgical robotics techniques for extra sorts of procedures have made the know-how’s advantages to sufferers, surgeons and hospitals abundantly clear. Sufferers expertise much less invasive operations for sooner restoration and therapeutic, surgeons can function with precision and keep away from some bodily stress on their our bodies, and hospitals lower your expenses with shorter stays and fewer readmissions whereas additionally gaining a aggressive advertising and marketing edge.
Because of this, extra well being techniques and physicians are increasing their use of surgical robotics. A latest Bain research discovered that 78% of surgeons within the U.S. are keen on surgical robotics. And even in arenas the place robotics are frequent — like hip and knee replacements — the research discovered there are nonetheless numerous procedures that don’t but contain robotics.
Close to-term progress alternatives will likely be outlined by corporations exploiting gaps within the present market, both specializing in new illness states and specialties or delivering second-generation options that enhance upon current options. From a know-how and innovation perspective, search for the continued enlargement of synthetic intelligence (AI) in robotics, the usage of progressive new supplies in robotic building, ever-smaller footprint robotic techniques, and surgical procedure within the Metaverse.
Integration of AI
Maybe no single phrase or know-how dominated conversations in 2023 like AI, and healthcare was no exception. Its use in imaging, analysis and different purposes continued to interrupt new floor and demonstrated its potential to enhance affected person outcomes alongside supplier effectivity.
In 2024, count on AI to turn into steadily onboarded into new and current robotic platforms. Its confirmed effectiveness in imaging holds promise for improved navigational capabilities, real-time analysis and even the automation of fundamental capabilities.
Additional forward, we’re more likely to see the healthcare equal of driverless vehicles with robotic platforms capable of autonomously lead on some procedures. In a latest American Faculty of Surgeons journal article, Dr. Stephanie Worrell stated that AI may even sooner or later use video information of 1000’s of surgical procedures carried out by physicians to duplicate a surgical job in order that it may be carried out by a machine.
Advances in smooth robotics acquired a lot consideration over the previous yr, showcasing the potential for robotics to function safely inside the human physique.
Most just lately, a global staff from the College of Galway and MIT debuted an implantable system that mixes AI and smooth robotics to constantly ship medicine over time by altering its form to beat fibrosis. This method might show helpful for treating continual circumstances like diabetes.
Count on these purposes and others to show appreciable momentum in 2024. Tasks already in improvement embrace smooth robotic arms that may achieve entry to the surgical website neatly.
Early robotic platforms have been huge constructs that took up loads of bodily house and required intensive help techniques. This naturally restricted deployments to bigger well being techniques with higher assets.
Past exterior surgical procedure techniques, the sector of nanorobotics guarantees tiny robots that may journey inside the physique to ship medicine, restore tendons or monitor for illness circumstances. Earlier this yr, a staff from South Korea printed a research detailing their use of exterior magnets to exactly information a mini robotic by means of the bloodstream of a pig to an arterial blockage the place it delivered distinction dye and navigated again to an extraction website.
Whereas the affect of introducing nanorobots into the human physique remains to be unclear, this discipline is extremely thrilling and has huge potential to advance human well being and affected person outcomes.
The pandemic helped telehealth go mainstream. Now, the maturation of that know-how alongside novel developments just like the Metaverse are opening the door to distant surgical procedure.
To make certain, distant coaching of surgeons has been performed for years, however new mixed-reality instruments are accelerating coaching for robotic-assisted surgical procedure and extra advanced procedures. As these applied sciences proceed to evolve, we might sooner or later see robots performing life-saving battlefield procedures whereas the surgeons working them stay protected 1000’s of miles away.
Methods for achievement
Whereas 2024 will undoubtedly see new developments that would result in much more purposes of robotic know-how for well being and surgical procedure, the important thing will likely be innovation by means of a twin lens of affected person and well being system advantages.
Capital-intensive investments like new robotic techniques will flounder with out demonstrating a capability to each enhance affected person outcomes in addition to present operational and financial advantages to well being suppliers. Meaning second-generation robots should ship extra medical worth and sooner therapeutic for sufferers alongside higher effectivity and income for well being techniques and their workers.
Innovators should additionally resist the urge to construct robots for the sake of constructing robots. There is no such thing as a marketplace for a robotic platform that can’t dramatically enhance the time, value or outcomes of present strategies.
The important thing for big and small robotics corporations alike is to work hand-in-hand with physicians on the event of recent techniques. This collaborative method will allow corporations to leapfrog at the moment’s applied sciences and make the stuff of yesterday’s science fiction tomorrow’s actuality.
Concerning the Creator
Jian Zhang, founder and CEO of Noah Medical, is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded two different profitable startups and served as CEO. He was additionally worker No. 2 at Auris Well being, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson for $5.7B in 2019.
Earlier than becoming a member of Auris, he labored at Intuitive Surgical. Zhang acquired his MS and PhD from Columbia College.