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Innovations in Medical Robotics (Technical Insights)

  • December 2013
  • 68 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 1939390


Table of Contents

Surgical Robotics being adopted across a wide variety of surgical disciplines

This research service focuses on the innovations for surgical robotics within various surgical disciplines. It discusses the key drivers and industry challenges and also enlists end-user demands and developer requirements.It identifies the technology roadmap and covers some of the key patents within the area.

Scope of the Research

• This research service (RS) is a study on the Research and Development Management Strategy for Smart Pill products and technologies. The need for more convenient administration of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, along with the need for more accurate and timely therapies, drives innovation in smart pills. This industry is still in the nascent phase and spread across countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Asia-Pacific.
• This RS is focused on the major application areas of smart pills, the various R&D networks available, new product and technological innovations, and strategies to effectively manage research and development.
• The four application areas identified in this RS are: Wireless Capsule Endoscopes, Electronic Drug Release, Vital Signs Monitoring, and Robotic Capsule Surgeries.

This research service will cover the following key sections in the Smart Pills market:
• Global R&D network assessment with analysis of R&D focus areas and emerging business models
• Global environmental assessment with emphasis on the technological and market drivers and restraints
• Strategic management of R&D section including identifying emerging market needs, funding opportunities and R&D networks available to Smart Pill participants.
• New product innovation and technologies available for licensing
• Global snapshot of IP protection strategies and key patents pertaining to Smart Pills
• Key contacts within the industry
• Decision Support Database tables

Research Methodology

Primary Research
• Engineers
• Technical Architects
• Research Heads
• Strategic Decision Makers
• Technology Policy Heads

Secondary Research
• Technology Journals
• Periodicals
• Market Research Studies
• Technology Policy
• Information Sites
• Internal Databases
• Thought Leader Briefings

• To provide a thorough analysis of each topic, Technical Insights’ analysts perform a review of patents to become familiar with the major developers and commercial participants and their processes. Building on the patent search, the analysts review abstracts to identify key scientific and technical papers that provide insights into key industry participants and the technical processes on which they work.
• The analysts then create a detailed questionnaire with content created to address the research objectives of the study, which functions as a guide during the interview process. While the analysts use structured questionnaires to guarantee coverage of all the desired issues, they also conduct interviews in a conversational style. This approach results in a more thorough exchange of views with the respondents and offers greater insight into the relevant issues than more structured interviews may provide.
• The analysts conduct primary research with the key industry participants and technology developers to obtain the required content. Interviews are completed with sources located across the world, in universities, national laboratories, governmental and regulatory bodies, trade associations, and end-user companies, among other key organizations.
• Our analysts contact the major commercial participants to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of processes and the drivers and challenges behind technologies and applications. Our analysts talk to the principal developers, researchers, engineers, business developers, analysts, strategic planners, and marketing experts, among other professionals.
• The project management and research team reviews and analyzes the research data that are gathered and adds its recommendations to the draft of the final study. Having conducted both published studies and custom proprietary research covering many types of new and emerging technology activities as well as worldwide industry analysis, the management and research team adds its perspective and experience to provide an accurate and timely analysis.
• The analysts then prepare a written final study for each project and sometimes present key findings in briefings to clients.

Key Findings

1. There is an increasing need for more convenient diagnostic and more accurate therapeutic tools. It is this need for greater comfort for patients and greater accuracy for physicians that drives innovation in smart pills. The industry is likely to experience a burst of new products and heavy competition amongst key participants.
2. There are Xmajor stakeholders in the smart pills industry: Patients, physicians, researchers (industry and academia), investors and regulatory agencies. There is a need for collaboration between the various stakeholders. Strategic and business partnerships, scientific and clinical education and a number of confidence building measures have to be developed to win the trust of regulatory authorities, investors, and end-users.
3. There is a clear commercialization preference and focus on wireless capsule endoscopes and ingestible sensors for internal signs monitoring. There is consensus between patients and physicians in their preference for smart pills. This gives the confidence to researchers and investors to invest more time and effort in developing products. Surgical robots and electronic drug delivery require more R&D to prove clinical safety and efficacy.
4. Private equity investors, venture capitals, government funding and VC division of corporate companies are the major financial contributors. Private equity and venture capital funding are playing a key role in wireless capsule endoscopes and vital signs monitoring. Government funding is more prevalent in surgical robotic pills.

Technology Overview-Background - Smart Pills: Introduction

• Smart Pills are miniature medical devices that are modelled after a conventional pill or capsule, but designed for advanced monitoring, diagnostic, therapeutic and/or surgical purposes.
• A smart pill is an electronic device and typically comprises of a battery, microchips acting as a central processing unit, light emitting diodes (LEDs) for light source, sensors to pick up information from the local internal environment and a transmitter for information relay.
• Smart pills used for specialized purposes may be equipped with additional features, such as a camera, a reservoir for drug delivery, miniature surgical instruments for obtaining biopsies and so on.

• Improved diagnosis and therapy: Diagnosis and imaging of the gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract) requires miniature devices that are nimble, and capable of navigating the tortuous path, which is hindered by the bulky instruments used currently. With miniature systems, the effectiveness of diagnosis and therapy will improve.
• Real-time monitoring: Pills are designed to continuously monitor the local internal environment and relay information constantly to the physician, to enable critical therapies on time.
• Convenience and comfort: Administering and operating a smart pill is much easier than traditional GI instruments. As it is no larger than a pill, patients need not undergo complicated and uncomfortable procedures.

• From MEMS to NEMS: With advances in miniaturization and as the scale shifts from the micro to the nano-level, nimbler and more compact smart pills are likely to be designed. This is likely to improve device performance and improve the energy efficiency of the battery, ensuring effective use of sensors for longer periods of time.
• Imaging: Smart pills will benefit from powerful microchip cameras. This will enable smart pills to obtain higher resolution images, more frames or pictures per second, and benefit from better lighting owing to the LEDs.
• Proliferation of telemedicine: In an increasingly mobile world, smart pills are highly likely to get integrated with smart phones and tablet devices for improved personal care and remote patient monitoring.

Technology Overview-Background - Smart Pills: Relevance

Smart pills find importance because of the nature of the device administration – oral. As the pill takes an oral route, the area of focus is largely the gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract), which consists of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines. There are a number of diseases and clinical conditions associated with each of these organs. Currently, the diagnosis and treatment of diseases suffer because of the complicated path medical instruments have to take in order to get to the site of interest.

Endoscopes (instruments that are used to image the GI tract) are undesirable for this purpose because they need to be inserted into a patient’s mouth (or anus) in order to image or operate upon a part of the GI tract. A smart pill equipped with a suitable sensor finds use in monitoring the local internal environment. A smart pill can be designed to monitor a variety of attributes by employing the appropriate sensor.

Traditional capsules and pills are at risk of either deploying their drug load earlier, or belatedly, at their intended location and time. These are some application areas for smart pills.

The main features of a smart pill that make it an important diagnostic and clinical tool are: small size, adaptability due to compatibility with different sensor systems, easy maneuverability due to improvements in electrical and magnetic field-based controls, effective information relay due to advances in near-field communication systems and remote monitoring due to integration with cloud-based telemetric systems.

In addition to these, the nature of administration is simple and effective. Complications relating to invasion are minimal, if at all, and the manner of extraction is natural and painless. Unsophisticated healthcare facilities in developing countries might lack in the means to effectively sterilize instruments such as endoscopes and surgical instruments. Such concerns could potentially be alleviated with the production of cheap disposable smart pills.

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