Worldwide snake robot markets are poised to achieve significant growth as the next generation units provide an access and movement mechanism that is unique and useful. Snake-arm robots are self-contained portable devices and extensions to existing systems. These products build on software and hardware technology.
Snake robots used for small space access, inside airplane wing access, first responder tasks, and surgery: They are used for going where nothing else can go. Snake robots provide systems that significantly improve traditional open surgery by consolidating the number of minimally invasive access ports to one and eliminating open surgery.
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The automated process revolution in surgery, first responder help, and communications is being implemented via robots. Robots are automating systems, providing significant improvement in the accuracy of surgery and penetration of spaces that were previously impenetrable.
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During a robot assisted surgical procedure, the patient-side cart is positioned next to the operating table with the electromechanical arms arranged to provide access to the initial ports selected by the surgeon. Metal tubes attached to the arms are inserted through the ports, and the cutting and visualization instruments are introduced through the tubes into the patient’s body.
The surgeon performs the procedure while sitting at a console, manipulating the instrument controls and viewing the operation through a vision system. When a surgeon needs to change an instrument the instrument is withdrawn from the surgical field using the controls at the console. This is done many times during an operation.
The robotic snake leverages a new technique for robotic movement that benefits users by providing efficient access to difficult spaces. This factor is driving demand for snake robot systems. Since robotics provide a precise, repeatable and controlled ability to perform procedures in tight spaces, they are increasingly in demand. The aging US population has supported demand for robotic surgical instruments, since the occurrence of health issues that require medical devices is higher in the elderly population. Buoyed by strong demand and sales, industry profit margins have increased.
Snake robot device markets at $33.6 million in 2012 are anticipated to reach $2.3 billion by 2019 as next devices, systems, and instruments are introduced to manage access to difficult spaces through small ports when large openings are unavailable or inconvenient.
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