ODENSE, Denmark — Among the technologies exhibited at RoboBusiness Europe 2016 here this month were new robots from Blue Ocean Robotics ApS. In addition to manufacturing and educational robots, the company offered its UV-Disinfection Robot.
The World Health Organization states that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the third most common cause of death in Mexico. The costs of HAIs represent 70 percent of the entire budget of the Ministry of Health.
The autonomous UV-Disinfection Robot is ready to help in hospitals. It can roam healthcare facilities and kill up to 99.9 percent of infectious bacteria and viruses within 10 minutes by using UV-C light.
Too much exposure to ultraviolet light can also be harmful to humans, so when robot comes close to a person, its UV light turns off automatically.
Blue Ocean Robotics has also developed the RA660 Navi robot for cleaning floors with minimal human contact.
Reduced risk of infection
“With the new UV-Disinfection Robot, the population of Mexico and other countries will have a significantly reduced risk of contracting life-threatening HAIs when being hospitalized,” said Claus Risager, CEO of Blue Ocean Robotics. “In cooperation with the clinical microbiology department at Odense University Hospital, we have created a solution that kills pathogenic bacteria in industrial applications and in the healthcare sector at considerable societal costs.”
“I am happy that Mexico is one of the first countries in Latin America to reduce HAIs,” he added.
Blue Ocean Robotics and Datatechnic Mexico recently announced a sales partnership. The UV-Disinfection Robot is nominated for the Startup World Award, which will be announced at Automatica 2016 in Munich.
“I think that the UV-Disinfection Robot will bring a revolution into how we disinfect patient rooms in cooperation with the staff,” said Peder Jest, medical director at the Odense University Hospital. “The aim is to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, sick leave and number of deaths due to HAI.”
The Odense University Hospital participated in the development of the UV-Disinfection Robot and provided clinical expertise. Hans JOrn Kolmos, a professor in the clinical microbiology department at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), has also been assisting the research.
Blue Ocean Robotics also recently announced a partnership with Professional Medical Supplies and Trading that it will provide the UV-Disinfection Robot to the government of Qatar.
Laparoscopic robot surgery
Blue Ocean Robotics is also working with its LapTics IVS subsidiary on the RoBi-Design project, which intends to make laparoscopic surgeries more secure and productive.
RoBi-Design is one of Blue Ocean Robotics’ three RoBi-X partnership programs. The others are RoBi-Develop and RoBi-Export. Through these programs, Blue Ocean co-develops new robotics products to solve customer needs and then helps commercialize them.
Jens JOrgen Kjer, chief surgeon at Rigshospitalet (the Royal Danish/Copenhagen University Hospital), is helping Blue Ocean Robotics develop VECLOC, the Voice and Eye-Controlled Laparoscopy Camera robot.
The product is a complete laparoscopic robot surgery system consisting of an eye-tracking unit, a voice recognition unit, a robot arm, and a control unit. The surgeon does not need to adapt to the system, which uses eye-gaze information and existing voice commands in the operating room.
Blue Ocean Robotics expects the robot to be fully developed and ready for the market in two to three years, said Risager.
“As was the case with our UV-Disinfection Robot, VECLOC entails exactly what RoBi-X is all about — collaboration,” he said. “Through RoBi-Design, we develop unique robot concepts to solve specific challenges and for realization of unexploited business opportunities in close collaboration with end users.”
“VECLOC benefits both the surgeon and the patient,” Risager continued.
“Today, laparoscopy requires complex and time-consuming coordination between multiple surgeons and assistants,” he said. “This solution enables the surgeon to rely only on a control unit and his or her own voice commands to perform the laparoscopy.”
Fulfilling surgeons’ ‘wildest dreams’
“The procedure will likewise be less demanding of the patient and utilize the time even better,” Risager said. “VECLOC is not only pivotal for the individual hospital, but also for society and the healthcare sector as a whole.”
JOrgen Kjer was looking for improvement in laparoscopic operations, where one surgeon is usually the “puppeteer” for the other. Instead, he hoped that they could collaborate better.
“Using VECLOC … the patient will experience the operation to be shorter and safer. Furthermore, it will bring better ergonomics and a better focus on the operation for the surgeon,” he said. “This cooperation with Blue Ocean Robotics brings a product of high technological value and at the same time, it fulfils the wildest dream of a surgeon.”
Also in the pipeline, Blue Ocean Robotics is working on a robot to lift patients out of beds that can be called by patients themselves, a remote heart-scanning robot, and a bed-transportation robot. In addition, the company is developing drones and a fleet of small robots to assist traffic.
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- Market for Medical Robotics Hits Growth Spurt