Computer Motion's robotic systems soon compatible with Karl Storz's integrated operating room

Santa Barbara 28 February 2002Computer Motion Inc., a developer of medical robotic systems, has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Karl Storz Endoscopy, specialised in sophisticated operating room integration solutions. The companies intend to collaborate in the development of products which enhance the compatibility between Karl Storz Communication Bus (SCB) and HERMES-Ready devices in an OR1 integrated operating room. The agreement specifies terms for Karl Storz to license speech and voice recognition technology from Computer Motion, and for the products developed as a result of the agreement to be co-marketed.


The HERMES Control Centre is a centralised system which enables the surgeon to use simple voice commands to control a network of "smart" medical devices in the operating room. The HERMES system was designed with an "open architecture" software platform, making it easy for medical device manufacturers to become alliance partners and to create HERMES-Ready devices. The company has placed over 700 HERMES systems in operating rooms around the world.

OR1 provides surgeons and operating room staff with a fully integrated operating room environment. Using sophisticated electronic systems, OR1 provides centralised control of every component of the surgical suite, including overhead mounting systems, surgical lights, operating room tables, endoscopic equipment, cameras, video systems, and documentation solutions. Seamless integration of the HERMES-Ready robotic devices is possible thanks to OR1's open architecture design.

Robert W. Duggan, Chairman and CEO of Computer Motion stated: "This agreement confirms the importance of the company's open architecture approach to connecting numerous independent devices. Importantly, HERMES allows the surgeon to maintain visual connection with many aspects of the operating room and initiate changes with a simple voice command." A key benefit of the agreement for Computer Motion is the integration of the company's robotic surgical systems into the OR1 integrated operating rooms. Upon completion of the engineering and development efforts between the companies, AESOP, ZEUS, and SOCRATES will be one hundred percent compatible with OR1.

"Recent advances in robotic technology are propelling minimally invasive surgery into brand new, extremely promising territory", added Charlie Wilhelm, Executive Vice President, Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc. "Our long-standing relationship with Computer Motion now becomes more important than ever, and we look forward to strengthening it as we expand the Karl Storz Communication Bus to include voice-activated robotic devices such as ZEUS and AESOP."

In addition to this expansion of SCB functionality, the just launched Image1 visualisation platform is an exciting development that will further enhance Karl Storz's leading position in technology for minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Yulun Wang, Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Computer Motion commented: "We believe that the Intelligent OR enables the advancement of minimally invasive surgery. Our two companies are completely in agreement that surgeons should be able to seamlessly and easily interact with all of his or her surgical devices, and that robotic surgical tools are vital to performing the actual manipulation."

Karl Storz Endoscopy-America Inc. is an affiliate of Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG, encompassing more than 15 endoscopic specialities. Based in Tuttlingen, Germany, Karl Storz GmbH & Co. KG is a family-owned company that designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets all its products with an emphasis on visionary design, precision craftsmanship, and clinical effectiveness. One of the latest technologies introduced by Karl Storz is the SCB, which provides centralised control of up to 31 separate medical devices, including cameras, insufflators, and potential third-party units. In addition, OR1 integrates an unlimited number of environmental controls such as operating room lighting and video conferencing systems.

More news on Karl Storz' OR1 surgical suites can be found in the VMW March 2002 article Karl Storz delivers latest advances in fully integrated operating room technology to St. Michael's Hospital.

Leslie Versweyveld

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