What Google’s Partnership With J&J Means for Robotic Research

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As robotic surgery continues to advance, the need for research is becoming even greater. Ethicon, a medical device company in the Johnson & Johnson family, recently entered into a partnership with the Life Sciences team at Google to advance this technology and perhaps telesurgery.

What do Ethicon and Google have in common for surgical robotics? On the surface it would appear to be very little. But both companies have very different objectives in creating a partnership for such a device. Ethicon is eager to get into robotically-assisted minimally invasive surgery devices where Intuitive Surgical Inc. has dominated for years. But Google is eager, "to do things which are likely to produce big returns in five to ten years, which solves some significant problems" according to Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. In robotic surgery, they have found a challenge which is worthy of the brain-trust and the bank account at the company.

However, such a large technological partnership leads to a lot of questions. What can their self-driving robotic automobile technology contribute to surgery? How can they leverage their purchase of Boston Robotics in the surgical field? How can they apply their cloud-based control systems for large numbers of robots? The future of robotic surgery may include multiple collaborating devices which are semi-autonomous robots and need shared guidance and control.

According to Dr. Roger Smith, chief technology officer of Florida Hospital Nicholson Center, “In the short term, I would expect to see a J&J Ethicon device which makes an incremental improvement to the current systems, but which is backed in the research and development labs by big minds with big ideas on what may be possible for the devices in 10 years.”

The future holds a lot of progress for robotic surgery, and we will continue to determine what is possible through our extensive research. Follow our Facebook and Twitter pages to see the latest updates in robotic surgery.

Or contact our research department to hear more about new innovations in the pipeline.

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