Robotic surgery units available on the market right now are not technically “robots,” according to Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) worldwide medical devices chairman Gary Pruden.
But Verb Surgical, J&J’s joint venture with Google parent Alphabet‘s (NSDQ:GOOGL) Verily Life Sciences, will be looking to produce a system that is truly robotic, and that will help improve surgical outcomes worldwide.
According to Pruden, speaking with MassDevice.com at AdvaMed’s 2016 annual meeting in Minneapolis this week, he and Verily CEO Andrew Conrad set out to assess the field of robotic surgery. The fast-growing sector is dominated by Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) and its da Vincisystem.
“We went out and looked at the market, and after, [Conrad] came back and said, ‘That’s not a robot,’” Pruden told us. “All that is is an extension of the physician’s eyes and hands. A robot is supposed to tell you valuable information that’s going to help guide you, it will do some things automatically for you. It will use Big Data, it would use anatomical recognition software, things of that nature, which are currently not available today.”
Verb Surgical will look to implement a “transformative agenda’ in the field of robotics,” with the goal of “democratizing surgery,” according to Pruden.