California Patent of the Month – June 2021

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure that can examine organs within the abdomen. Through the use of small incisions and a laparoscope to examine organs. Minimally invasive surgeries (MIS) like these offer reduced scarring, patient pain and recovery periods. In recent years, it has become common to use robotic surgery to complete these MIS. These systems can be very complex though, requiring extensive training and experience to properly operate them. Testing improvements and modifications is also very costly as the parts and technology require physical prototypes for evaluation.

Verb Surgical Inc. has developed a virtual system capable of providing a virtual robotic surgical environment. This system provides virtual space to simulate surgery and allow a surgeon to test the robotically controlled surgical instrument for practice. 

With the use of a VR processor and the typical VR equipment (head gear and handheld controllers), the surgeon may manipulate the VR environment, practices without requiring an actual patient or even the robotic tools. Sensors are configured to reflect the movement, vibrations, sounds, and force of the robotic tools which can be conveyed to the user via haptic feedback and audio/visual displays. In addition, the environment provides a new phase of prototypical testing. Rather than committing to expensive physical prototypes, developers can first design a virtual prototype of their model and test it within the VR environment. This offers a less expensive opportunity for testing and modifying robotic surgical system designs.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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