Sunnyvale, CA-based Intuitive Surgical has signed a deal with Luna Innovations, of Roanoke, VA, whereby Luna will supply its shape-sensing and position-tracking system for integration into Intuitive’s products, including the popular da Vinci Surgical System.
The daVinci system is a robotic operating device that’s controlled by a doctor watching a patient on a monitor; the surgeon’s hand movements are scaled, filtered and translated into movement of the system’s four robotic arms. Incorporating Luna’s technology, which was originally developed at NASA, allows surgeons to “sense” and “track” where devices are located in the body during a procedure. It does this without introducing electrical signals or radiation into the body, and with no adverse effect from line-of-sight limitations.
The partnership is significant for Luna, as the daVinci system is a widely used device. A recent article in The Mercury News said Intuitive’s product is “among the most popular operating robots in use today… used in more than 500 hospitals for everything from repairing heart valves to removing cancerous tissue.” Also, tests are underway for using the daVinci system underwater and in outer space.