A low-cost mechanical device for minimally invasive surgery

Surgeons can now use a new type of mechanical instrument to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery, thanks to researchers and small business entrepreneurs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The handheld instrument is based on fundamental engineering research and provides robot-like functionality at a lower cost compared to existing robotic surgical systems. The technology is being commercialized by small business FlexDex Surgical, which has also received seed money from the NSF Small Business Innovation Research program. This technology provides a higher degree of dexterity, precision and intuitive control than traditional laparoscopic instruments, according to the Shorya Awtar, a University of Michigan engineering professor who co-founded FlexDex with surgery professor James Geiger and business entrepreneur Greg Bowles. Traditional laparoscopic instruments typically require significant training for surgeons, and can be difficult and tiresome to use, which may lead to longer surgeries and increased healthcare costs.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

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