Google and Johnson & Johnson will partner on surgical robot technology


Google has apparently formed a partnership with consumer goods company Johnson and Johnson, in order to develop robots that will help surgeons in the operating theatre, according to an announcement on Friday.

Google develops surgical robots

Johnson and Johnson said that the deal is expected to be complete in Q2, but is currently awaiting review by antitrust regulators. Google is said to be working with Ethicon, a Johnson and Johnson division that is dedicated to surgical technology.

The robots will apparently help with invasive surgeries that limit problems like scarring and pain. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will bring machine vision and image analysis software to the table, aiming to give surgeons a better view of operations and better access to relevant information.

Google Surgical Robot

Google suggests one possibility might be real-time analysis of images, highlighting things like nerves, blood vessels and tumours. The company also notes that surgeons might be able to see images like MRI scans and guides on the same screen used to control a robot instead of on different displays.

Google first entered the medical world last year when it launched Google Genomics. The unit allows develops to store, process, and share DNA sequences using Google’s cloud services, and charges $25 per year to store a genome. But this week’s announcement is the first time that Google is moving into surgical robot technology.

Other tech giants like Apple are also venturing into medical tech, with efforts such as HealthKit and ResearchKit.

One question remains – would you trust a surgeon that is using Google software to help with the operation? Let’s hope that they aren’t bombarded with adverts during the procedure…or perhaps patients will get a reduction by watching an ad first, or allowing their personal data to be used to deliver relevant, targeted ads!?

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal.



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