As we take further steps into the age of technology, it is now time to not only keep on making ground breaking innovations but to also accommodate these innovations into almost as many aspects of our lives possible. Sure, this goes to say that advanced robotics may just as well one day replace human input but who’s to say it might not benefit the world and our lives from it?
In terms of taking such positive steps towards the betterment of medical services, Google and Johnson & Johnson have decided to team up and develop an advanced, robot-assisted surgery platform. Along with the aid of Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, makers of medical devices, both the parent companies will pool in their collective team efforts in terms of capabilities, intellectual property and expertise.
As the announcement of such a project might go on to cause panic in the medical industry for people worrying over losing their jobs to machines, nothing in the announcement goes on to say that this will indeed be the case. The announcement of the partnership suggests that the companies will be using robotics to supplement, not replace human surgeons, at least in this stage of the partnership.
The passage below perhaps best illustrates the intent of the collaboration:
Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses technology to give surgeons greater control, access and accuracy during the surgical procedure while benefitting patients by minimizing trauma and scarring, enabling accelerated post-surgical healing. The companies seek to develop new robotic tools and capabilities for surgeons and operating room professionals that integrate best-in-class medical device technology with leading-edge robotic systems, imaging and data analytics.
Generally, what a robot-assisted surgery involves is a human surgeon controlling instruments via a computer or a remote manipulator. It allows for better handling, more precision control and pinpoint accuracy than a human operator can manually provide, regardless of their individual skillset or dexterity, resulting in a far less invasive procedure as well as benefitting patients with a faster recovery time.
However, the partnership between Google and Johnson & Johnson will not be restricted to the plans the two companies have set on the table. Till date, Google Glass has been used in some robot-assisted surgery setups, and the tech giant’s involvement and resources could definitely help cut costs associated with robot-assisted procedures over time. In terms of opportunities, this collaborated platform will not only help in collecting and analysing data related to procedures with the aim of improving treatment and specific surgery practises, it can also pioneer the future development of this service industry over the years to come.