For the last 10 years, if anyone mentioned robotic surgery or surgical robots, 95 percent of the time they meant the da Vinci robot from Intuitive Surgical. “That product has been so dominantly successful that almost everybody who talks about it is talking with that as their reference point,” said Roger Smith, chief technology officer for Florida Hospital Nicholson Center. Smith’s primary work involves researching the effectiveness of surgical robots.
Smith said that in the last several years, a few surgical robot companies have come onto the scene and are vying for market share. In the realm of abdominal or thoracic robotics, da Vinci is starting to get some competition.
“The market is getting really interesting – all these companies charging towards the market, and more importantly, seeking some kind of differentiation for their device,” said Smith. “They are wrestling with 2 key questions: What can we do [for] physician and hospital customers and how can we get them to switch?”