Beyond its main business of Internet search and advertising, google is becoming more innovative in health care field. You heard it right…. In its latest endeavour the google will develop surgical robots that use artificial intelligence. The google has recently teamed with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to build robots that could assist surgeons in the operating theatre.
Google’s life sciences division will be working with Johnson & Johnson’s medical device company, Ethicon, to create a robotics-assisted surgical platform to help doctors in the operating theatre. This will be done by combining Google’s expertise with Ethicon knowledge and intellectual property. The project promises on a minimally-invasive surgery, which give surgeons improved accuracy, reducing scarring and trauma significantly. The result could mean faster healing times for anyone receiving invasive surgery.
Google believe that it can enhance the robotic tools using artificial intelligence technologies including machine vision and image analysis software to help surgeons see better during operation or make it easier to get information relevant to surgery. However surgeons will still have ultimate control over what surgical procedures to make, while the platform acts as a supportive tool. The two firms will explore how advanced imaging and sensors could complement surgeons’ abilities, for example by highlighting blood vessels, nerve cells, tumour margins or other important structures that could be hard to discern in tissue by eye or on a screen.
Robot-assisted surgeries aren’t a new thing, it has been since 1985 to improve accuracy in operating rooms including in heart, eye and prostate surgery. Robotic surgery works best for operations that require small incisions and high levels of precision. Surgeons typically consult multiple separate screens in the operating room to check preoperative medical images, like MRIs, results of previous surgeries and lab tests, or understand how to navigate an unusual anatomical structure. Google said software could place these images on the same screen that surgeons use to control robotic tools, reducing the need to look away at other screens during the procedures.
Google will be providing software and expertise for data analysis and vision but will not be developing the control mechanisms for the robots. Currently Da Vinci Surgery System, a California-based Intuitive Surgical, dominate the robotic surgery field.
Gary Pruden, who heads the Johnson & Johnson global surgery group, said the collaboration with Google and J&J unit Ethicon “is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world.”
So far only announcement is made. The project will have a long research and development phase and it’s not clear at this time when the technology will be used in hospitals, and for which procedures. We can hope google will win the challenge of making robotic surgeries safer and also it could actually make a difference in the medical world…..