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    PREDICTIONS

    Will Surgical Robots be tiny or huge by 2030?

    Will Air Taxis be tiny or huge by 2030?

    Meet Per Vegard Nerseth, Chief Executive of CMR Surgical. He is on a mission to revolutionize surgery by using robots.

    And meet Michelle, a surgeon with 15 years experience.

    In this article, I predict how huge surgical robots will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:

    • The technology needed
    • The companies making it happen
    • What's to love
    • jobs that will be hired.

    Technology

    Surgical Robots will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.

    Cut

    The technology Per needs to robotically cut the body when operating is definitely solved by 2030.

    Today, he already uses "tactility technology" robotics to determine the exact place needed to operate. The sensing mechanism scans the surface of the body through parallel passes to assess the surgical area. The robot then calculates and determines the precise length to be cut and then performs a sequence of shortcuts before making the full incision.

    Operate

    Today, Michelle operates on the patient with her hands.


    How does Per’s robot operate? It operates under the supervision of a medical professional using Artificial Intelligence image recognition to visualize the operating area and then uses a gripper to retract the skin and expose the damaged tissue, while the second gripper reaches in to fix it.
    Per's robots perform surgeries including:
    Appendix removal
    Gall bladder removal
    And stent insertion surgery.
    Currently, the robots are operated by doctors but one day they will do it all in a fully automated way.

    Operate

    Sew

    The technology Per needs for his robot to sew up the patient will be solved by 2030.
    The robot breaks down the sewing process into simple movements it cautiously follows. A force sensor mechanism ensures that the needle is not pushing down too hard thereby avoiding tissue damage. The optimal place to sew up is directed using dots of infrared bio-glue allowing it to track the tissue when it moves and to adjust every stitch.
    In a sewing accuracy test on pigs, the robot sewed more evenly and with more secure stitches than those made by surgeons.

    Companies

    Surgical robots will be huge if there are unicorns -  startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.

    CMR Surgical

    Per's company CMR Surgical is a unicorn worth two billion dollars. Per joined in early 2020 from ABB the engineering conglomerate where he was in charge of their robotics division. CMR's laparoscopic cutting robot is called Versius. It launched commercially relatively recently in September 2020 with over 1,000 surgical procedures completed in hospitals across Europe and Asia.

    Riverfield

    Riverfield is on its way to becoming a unicorn. It is the first Japanese company to develop a surgical robot called EMARO. It is an endoscope-holding robot controlled by a surgeon sensing vertical and horizontal movements of the surgeon’s head through a gyroscope that the surgeon wears.

    Emaro is one of the first surgical robot companies to use pneumatic air pressure. This enables higher precision.

    Vicarious Surgical

    Vicarious Surgical is a unicorn. It went public on the New York Stock Exhange in April 2021.

    Bill Gates was an early investor. The FDA has given approval for their robot which includes fingers that replicate human motion. It's amazing watching it sew.

    There’s plenty of multinational companies that are active including Johnson and Johnson, Intuitive and Medtronic.

    Acquiring companies
    Johnson & Johnson bought Auris Health, a developer of medical robotics and is one of the first to aim to operate on lung cancer.

    Buying startups
    Medtronic, the world's largest medical device company, is buying startups including the Israeli robotic spine surgery startup, Mazor Robotics.

    Love

    Now let's see if there's lots to love and give surgical robots 5 stars for and few reasons to give it 1 star for.

    Precision

    It's  5 stars for precision. Surgical robot-assisted surgery can give more precise cutting and sewing and a greater range of motion and dexterity.

    Fast recovery

    Smaller incisions mean less trauma and smaller surgical scars. Patients frequently go home one to two nights after robot-assisted surgery compared to longer stays with traditional open surgery.

    Remote surgery

    4 stars for enabling remote surgery. Telesurgery already exists but robots make it even more widespread allowing the expertise of specialized surgeons. To be available to patients worldwide without the need for patients to travel beyond their local hospital.

    Jobs

    If surgical robots are going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.

    Surgical assistants may one day be fired because robots have fully replaced them. 

    On the hired side, the CMR Surgical  team has a lot of vacancies. There's 25 listed on LinkedIn.

    They are across multiple job functions including: in Electronic engineering, Software engineering, Occupational safety, Mechanical Engineering, Marketing and Technicians. It's well worth looking at LinkedIn if you're interested in getting a job in the surgical robot sector.

    Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel. Jobs in fast growing new sectors like surgical robots are exciting and more secure than in older sectors.

    Jobs in the surgical robots industry are all around the world. CMR Surgical is located in the UK. Riverfield in Japan.Mazor Robotics in Israel. Intuitive and Vicarious are in the US 

    You could set up some job alerts for these companies. It's easy to do on LinkedIn and click to have a look at my 'Finding great jobs for life in 2030' video. Because there's plenty of jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, Surgical Robots is at the Huge end of the scale.

    Prediction

    Now we've covered all four sections, it's time to make a prediction.

    We've seen the technology needed is likely to be solved.

    There are plenty of unicorns already.

    There's lots of reasons to love it.

    Loads of new jobs are being hired.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, Surgical robots are at the huge end of the scale by 2030 at an 8.

    Watch on YouTube

    Watch on YouTube

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