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Doctor Robot will see you now – but it’ll cost you more

Marianne Knight

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have long been forecast to play a key role in health and social care this century, as Western economies grapple with the problem of ageing people in ageing cities – on a limited budget.

Combined with sensors, wearable devices, and other technologies, the pattern-recognition ability of AI, for example, has already helped improve diagnoses for a variety of medical conditions, ranging from cancer to diabetes and common heart problems. This opens the door to an age of targeted, preventative medicine, along with lower healthcare costs.

Robots are being developed to connect and look after socially isolated people, while autonomous vehicles could democratise personal transport by making it accessible to all, regardless of age and (dis)ability.

This much is generally known, but less explored from a strategic and policy making standpoint is surgical robotics, which UK-RAS – the robotics research wing of the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – addressed recently with one of its excellent research papers.

Surgical robotics has evolved over a quarter century from a niche research field to a burgeoning area of innovation, spearheading research and development in precision medicine, personalised healthcare, and quality-of-life improvements, acknowledges UK-RAS in its paper, Surgical Robotics: The Next 25 Years.


By Chris Middleton
September 27, 2018

Chris Middleton takes the pulse of robotic surgery and explains what the challenges are in this complex, pricey sector of the market.