Although most robots are deployed in the automotive sector, their application within medicine and healthcare is likely to catch up fast.

Worldwide sales of medical robots increased in 2015 by 7% to 1,324 units year on year, with the most important applications being assisted surgery and therapy. Similarly, the total value of sales of medical robots in 2015 increased to $1,463m, 32% of the total sales value of the professional service robots, according to the International Federation of Robots (IFR).

SURGERY

 

“A robot will cost $1.5m, but it requires replaceable surgical tools such as razors – they cost $1,500 every time and suppliers of these products make regular income here as well as from the robots themselves.”

Big data in cancer care

 

The computer can sift through troves of the latest medical data – including clinical trial data, medical journal entries, textbooks, and other literature – to help doctors make their treatment recommendations. It helps them keep up-to-date with the fast-moving industry and the latest treatments.

Companion robots

The next technology trend is social or companion robotics. These are social robots that use artificial intelligence to understand people and respond appropriately. Paro, the therapeutic seal, is a simple example that has been around for many years.

 

Human augmentation

 

Earlier this year Dexcam was approved by the US government’s medication programme and  is being deployed as part of Medicare. Another augmentation product is Google’s contact lens, which senses body temperature and glucose levels to help with diabetes management. The more futuristic US-based Defense Advanced Research Project Agency has a research program to develop implantable devices to help restore memory.

Genomics

DNA is the key to life, and the most significant application of artificial intelligence and machine learning is likely to be its work with DNA in the health sector.

 

Although scientists have sequenced the human genome, what the sequence means is still largely a mystery. If we are to understand what influences life and biology, we must first understand the language that is DNA.

 

© Copyright Last Word UK Limited 2017

All rights reserved

 

Published by Last Word UK Limited, Fleet House, 1st Floor, 59-61 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5LA. UK

Company Reg. No. 05573633. VAT. No. 872 411 728.