Malaga University develops first Spanish surgical robot
14 July 2009
Laparoscopic surgery has been performed for the first time in Malaga
in a routine operation using a robotic assistant in the Hospital
Universitario Virgen de la Victoria. The robot was developed by the
University of Malaga and is manufactured by Spanish company SENER.
Four years ago SENER became interested in the ongoing research by the
Medical Robotics Group of the University of Malaga. They were developing
a robot-assistant prototype designed especially for minimally invasive
The surgical robot
This robot was to be voice controlled and able to move the endoscope
with the total precision required in these types of procedures. In 2004
this prototype was first put to the test in surgical procedures
performed on human patients, and its benefits were quickly verified:
freeing the surgeon of the habitual fatigue caused by the deep
concentration need in such procedures, and consequently reducing the
amount of time of the operation. This laparoscopic robot is the very
first to have been exclusively developed by Spanish scientists.
Once the company SENER showed their interest it didn’t take long
before the robot was patented, and its novel concept was endorsed by the
Spanish Office of Patents & Trademarks and the European Patent Office.
The company says that there is no other patent similar to this system
that has the adroitness to control the robot’s movements.
Since UMA’s robot has been patented in Spain, patent rights have been
extended to the EU, The United States and Japan, granting those licence
rights exclusively to SENER.
The company has industrialized the prototype turned it into a
commercial product. This has been a complex task, in which the
researchers from the Medical Robotics Group at the University of Malaga
have also been involved by giving the company that personal in-depth
knowledge that can not be acquired by the patent alone.
This has all resulted in a successful outcome where all money that is
invested in research is given back to society, in the form of this
entirely designed and manufactured Spanish, first series, product being
used in the Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria in Malaga.
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