SWRDA awards OC Robotics research grant to develop surgical snake-arm robot

OC Robotics has been awarded an Exceptional Research Project R&D grant from the South West Regional Development Agency to develop a revolutionary surgical Snake-Arm for the emerging field of Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES). NOTES is a relatively new surgical technique, utilising natural orifices to provide access for surgical procedures, thereby eliminating external scarring and reducing recovery time.

To date, most NOTES procedures have been performed using conventional, flexible endoscopes that include channels for small surgical instruments. A major limitation of this technique is that endoscopes do not provide a stiff enough platform for surgical instruments to enable complicated procedures to be performed effectively. Using OC Robotics Snake-arm technology, this ground-breaking snake-arm will be pliable for insertion, yet stiff and steerable when required, delivering surgical instruments to the target site. This snake-arm will allow more NOTES procedures to be developed that will benefit both surgeons and their patients, and is another example of where snake-arm technology can be successfully utilised.

Charlotte Lane, Business Innovation Manager at the South West RDA, commented: “OC Robotics have not only demonstrated a high degree of innovation, but have also been clear about their plans for exploiting their development. They will be able to provide a new product for the medical market which will not only bring the company, but also the region to the forefront of the sector. This is exactly the sort of project that the GRD scheme was set up to support.“

OC Robotics specialises in remotely operated robotic manipulators for confined spaces and harsh environments.

The new Grant for Research and Development scheme is run by the Technology Strategy Board, further details can be found at http://www.innovateuk.org/content/competition/grant-for-rd-single-business.ashx

OC Robotics NOTES Snake-Arm entering through a natural orifice.

OC Robotics has been developing Snake-arm robots for 10 years. The exceptional ability of Snake-arm robots to manoeuvre into otherwise inaccessible spaces makes them valuable in a large number of applications in high-value industrial markets. OC Robotics has delivered robots and has provided consultancy and analysis for industries spanning, amongst others, nuclear, aerospace and security. In addition to its commercial success, OC Robotics has won several awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category in 2009.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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