The merits of laparoscopic surgery include that it does not leave large operation scars, the recovery after the surgery is quick, and the burden placed on the patient’s body can be reduced (= it is minimally invasive). However, laparoscopic surgery requires a high level of skill, so there has been the issue that performing the surgery itself has been difficult. In response to this, Kawasaki worked to develop a robotic system for surgery support that could move the surgical instruments inside the abdominal cavity in the same way as our own hands.
hinotori™ Surgical Robot System
Medicaroid Corporation was established in 2013 as a joint venture between Kawasaki, which has a great variety of technology and expertise accumulated since starting the production of Japan’s first industrial robot in 1969, and Sysmex, which has technology in testing and diagnosis and an extensive network in the medical sector. We developed the “hinotori™ Surgical Robot System” as Japan’s first robotic system to assist surgery. The name comes from the famous series by Osamu Tezuka called “HINOTORI” (Phoenix). Tezuka was one of the greatest manga artists of Japan and also held a medical license, and he continued to write the series throughout his life.
Multiple unit configuration “hinotori™”
hinotori™ is composed of the three units of the “Surgeon Cockpit”, “Operation Unit” and “Vision Unit”.
The surgeon uses hands and feet to operate an endoscope camera and surgical instruments while looking into a 3D viewer. The burden during the surgery is reduced with ergonomic design that fits the postures of the surgeon. This supports stress-free surgery.
The Operation Unit performs the surgery based on the operations from the Surgeon Cockpit.The robot arms apply the technology of the dual-arm SCARA robot “duAro” from Kawasaki. The compact design close to the size of human arms reduces the interference between arms and between the arms and assisting doctors. This supports smooth surgery.
This integrates the images displayed in the Surgeon Cockpit and controls the audio. In addition to displaying the high-definition endoscope images in 3D, it also supports smooth communications between the surgeon and surgical staffs.
Remote surgery in combination with communications technology
We have combined hinotori™ with communications technology and begun demonstration testing for remote surgery with the guidance and cooperation of various related personnel.
The anticipation for this demonstration testing is a system that will enable skilled surgeons to perform surgical operations in regional areas remotely, and to provide remote guidance and support to young surgeons in regional areas. The aim of this is to improve the labor shortage in surgical medical care in the regions, and to equalize the level of surgical medical care throughout Japan.