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Vol.3 – Medical and healthcare robotics

The greater number of sensors and smartphone data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed or mobile robotics systems all enable the collection of large quantities of data on all individuals (Big Data). Once it has been processed by AI software, this data can be used for action by robots. We commonly say that today’s medicine is curative in nature. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in medical diagnostics, personalized medicine, individual monitoring tools, and self-monitoring of our own health, the medicine of the future being shaped by technological advances will be much more predictive, preventive and customized.

The entire medical and healthcare value chain, including health insurance systems, will thus have to be overhauled. The so-called Silver Economy, driven by the aging population, is of prime interest to many research laboratories and companies in this field. Research by INRIA’s Héphaistos team, geared primarily towards usage, is one example of this. Logévie, a member of the Housing Action Group (GAL) is highly interested in robotics solutions that can further enhance its well-established know-how in services for senior citizens.

As well, robotics is playing a bigger role in the organization of hospital work as robots, such as those by US firm Savioke or by South Korea’s Yujin Robot, are now transporting medicines from the pharmacy to the patient’s bed. Robotics is also contributing to the quality and safety of care.

Several hospitals have begun experiments to track the movements of healthcare personnel to analyze and curb the transmission of hospital-acquired infections. Not to mention the surgical robots that enable non-invasive surgery and reduce the time spent at rehabilitation facilities. Bertin Nahum, who founded Medtech (now part of an American group) in Montpellier several years ago, has recently announced the founding of a new medical robotics firm, Quantum Surgical. Young French company Axilum Robotics won Innorobo’s Start-Up Competition in 2016 for its Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation device.

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