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Healthcare | Technology

The development of robotics and AI in the health sector

20 Mar 2018, by Informa Insights

The evolution of robotics has solidified an AI-enhanced future. See how it is already revolutionising the health and medical industry.

The future of surgery promotes a remarkable partnership between humans and machines. A collaboration seeing the impossible possible, transforming the medical world as we know it. Precision, efficiency, affordability, recovery – just the tip of the scalpel.

From traditional herbal practices, to invasive surgeries and complex procedures. We have witnessed marvels in medicine that fix, mend, and even enhance our assets. Across time it has been humans alone at the forefront of medicine. Until now…

Medicine is one of the most innovative fields today. An industry reliant on face-to-face treatments and prognosis is being revolutionised by AI. Cures, surgeries, technologies, and clinical trials have all been affected by the AI bug.



Manipulating robotics in surgery, Intuitive Surgical has pioneered the da Vinci system.

Through magnified 3D vision, surgeons work with tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate greater than possible via human hand. These smaller, more precise movements are controlled entirely by the surgeon and can turn invasive into non-invasive surgery.

Intuitive CEO, Gary Guthart, says that more than 3 million of these procedures were performed in 2015 alone.

This system could lower the total cost of surgery and enhance recovery time for patients due to the less-invasive nature. It is already used for cardiac, colorectal, gynaecologic, head and neck, thoracic, urologic, and other general surgery.


Virtual reality

A recent clinical trial headed by Brennan Spiegel MD, discovered that use of virtual reality (VR) is a drug-free pain management technique with the potential to improve quality and reduce the cost of patient care.

See more about the trial here.


Robotic pill – enhancement

A team based at the University of Wollongong are engineering a capsule to examine the gastrointestinal tract and deliver treatment of illnesses, including internal bleeding, Crohn’s and coeliac disease, and small bowel tumours.

As an improved prototype to the existing endoscopic capsule – it is clean, safe, more accurate, and will work magnetically allowing the patient to continue with daily activity.

Lead developer, Professor Alici says,

“Such a controlled, precisely located robotic capsule with diagnosis, drug delivery, minimally invasive surgery and biopsy features will eventually be used in clinical practice to provide effective healthcare”.

It seems the big boys have taken note and are getting on board the AI healthcare train.

In September 2017, Microsoft officially launched its healthcare division recruiting researcher Iain Buchan, former clinical professor at the University of Manchester, to lead the division. A doctor and scientist, he has been involved in research and healthcare for the past 25 years.

Microsoft’s research plans include establishing monitoring systems to reduce hospital admissions, and studies into diseases and chronic illnesses like diabetes.

AI has enabled some pretty impressive technologies and medical advances in healthcare. Whether we stay within ethical realms, see a Matrix-infused vortex, or dip and dive about regulatory concerns – the future is yet to be written.

But, with enhanced tools already been deployed, medical technologies are only going to get bigger.



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The event brings together clinicians, tech innovators and business leaders to drive collaboration on the development, commercialization and uptake of emerging technologies which benefit the health industry.

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