Google and Johnson & Johnson are working on robots for surgery

google verb surgical robots ipad surgery
Google just keeps giving birth to … itself. After the Internet giant rebranded itself as Alphabet earlier this year, the changes have kept rolling in — last week, Google Life Sciences was renamed Verily, and now, yet another new company is emerging from this branch. Named Verb Surgical, this latest offshoot might be one of Google’s most impressive to date. Its goal is to create better robotic surgical assistants, and thanks to Google’s partnership with Johnson & Johnson, the Verb Surgical team hopes to leverage Google’s expertise in machine learning and advanced image processing and Johnson & Johnson’s vast knowledge of medical advices.

While Verb is staying mum on detailed plans and progress, we do know that the ultimate goal is to put robots in the operating room, where they’ll be able to better assist doctors during various procedures. “Verb Surgical is the first time we’ve launched a new company with a partner,” Verily CEO Andrew Conrad told Wired. “We expect to work closely with pharma, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, patient advocacy groups, and academic researchers in different ways for a long time to come.”

Though robots are already utilized in certain operations (with complex names like Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectom), they’re certainly not the most common tool at a doctor’s disposal. Today, robots are most often used to hold instruments in place for long periods of time, or to perform very small movements in delicate environments. But Verb hopes to go much further.

“We believe Verb Surgical has the potential to change the future of surgery, not just robotic surgery,” said Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices in a press release. “The team has already made meaningful progress on the robotics platform, which is being developed for application across a host of surgical specialties.”

With tools from Ethicon, the new company hopes to revolutionize the medical field once again, and although we’ll have to wait to see just what it has in store, with players like these in the game, it’s gotta be good.

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