Technology Google, J&J to bring robots into the operating room

Google, J&J to bring robots into the operating room

 Johnson & Johnson(AA) — Tech giant Google and health care company Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that they have partnered to innovate surgical robotics.

The partnership will involve sharing intellectual property and expertise between Google and Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

“For more than 60 years, Ethicon has developed products and technologies that have transformed the way surgery is done,” said Gary Pruden, chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s worldwide global surgery group.

The companies are focused on building robots that can assist surgeons and other health care professionals in the operating room instead of building machines that can replace human surgeons.

The kind of “robotic-assisted surgery” the pair desires to innovate is minimally invasive and will give surgeons more control and accuracy. By using robots and software, the companies hope to also minimize patient trauma and help speed up healing post-operation.

Most often, these kinds of surgeries involve a doctor controlling precise medical instruments via a computer.     

“This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world,” Pruden said.

Through its 17-year growth from just a well-designed search engine to a massive tech empire disrupting fields ranging from cloud storage to self-driving cars, Google has several times before dabbled in health care. 

Last November, for example, the company unveiled a special spoon with an auto-stabilizing handle that allows patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease to eat without spilling. The company has also experimented with engineering its Google Glass augmented reality headset specifically for medical professionals, which could display information, such as a patient’s vital signs, directly to a surgeon’s eyes.

Help from a storied innovator like Google could also mean the high cost of current robotic-assisted surgeries could decrease. 

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