Robotic Arm for Minimally-Invasive Surgery

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Electronics For You

April 6, 2017

In an era of spiraling healthcare cost concerns, a new US$ 500 surgical instrument developed at University of Michigan, USA, is vying to take the place of a US$ 2 million robot for certain minimally-invasive procedures.

U-M startup FlexDex Surgical's first product, a simple, ergonomic and intuitive needle driver for stitching inside the body, has been used for the first time in a series of operations. FlexDex is an all-mechanical platform that mounts to the surgeon's arm. It uses a unique engineering approach to enable the tip of the instrument to mimic the direction of movement of the surgeon's hand.

Shorya Awtar, associate professor of mechanical engineering, says, "FlexDex provides the functionality of robots at the cost of traditional hand-held laparoscopic instruments. We have disrupted the paradigm where surgeons and hospitals had to choose between high cost/high function and low cost/low function. Our mission is to democratize minimally-invasive surgery and expand its use around the USA and the world."

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