Open Source Robotic Surgery System In The Works

Susan D. Hall | FierceHealthIT | February 11, 2014

While the Da Vinci surgical system is the only robot with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval--and the target of plenty of criticism--researchers are looking to develop surgical robots based on open source technology, reports Scientific American.

Taking a page from software development, it would involve a basic design that wouldn't change from device to device and involve a community of developers to improve it and create their own innovations.

Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Washington say that by using open source, the multimillion-dollar price of the system would fall, as would the learning curve for using it.

The open source system--called the Raven--has been in development for more than a decade, with versions sent to universities in the United States, Canada and France. Each of those 14 Raven II robots has a unique IP address and is networked to the others, so researchers can collaborate on experiments and share software.