The routine use of this first commercial robot assistant culminates the process of investigation, development, technology transfer and the marketing of this robot.
Four years ago the Spanish company SENER became interested in the ongoing research by the Medical Robotics Group of the University of Malaga. They were developing a robot-assistant prototype designed especially for minimally invasive surgery. This robot was to be voice-controlled and able to move the endoscope with the total precision required in these types of procedures. It was in 2004 that this prototype was first put to the test in surgical procedures performed on human patients, and its benefits were quickly verified: freeing the surgeon of the habitual fatigue caused by the deep concentration need in such procedures, and consequently reducing the amount of time of the operation. It is worth mentioning that this laparoscopic robot is the very first one to have been exclusively developed by Spanish scientists.
Once the company SENER showed their interest it didn't take long before the robot was patented, and its novel concept was endorsed by the Spanish Office of Patents & Trademarks and the European Patent Office; there does not exist another patent similar to this system that has the adroitness to control the robot's movements. Since UMA's robot has been patented in Spain, patent rights have been extended to the European Union, the United States and Japan, granting those license rights exclusively to SENER.
This company has industrialized the prototype that has been designed and developed by the Group of Medical Robotics of the UMA, and in turn SENER has produced it into a commercial product. This has been a complex task, in which the researchers have also been involved by giving the company that personal in-depth knowledge that can not be acquired by the patent alone.
This has all resulted in a very satisfactory outcome where all money that is invested in research is given back to society, in the form of this entirely designed and manufactured Spanish, first series, product being used in the Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria in Malaga.