How To Plan for Unexpected Areas of Complexity when Developing Surgical Robotics

by | Aug 26, 2020

The Long History and Prosperous Future of Robotic-Assisted Surgeries

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The first documented use case of a robot-assisted surgery was in 1985 when the PUMA 560, a robotic arm, was used in a neurosurgical biopsy. This demonstrated that a robot could be used to achieve greater precision in minimally invasive surgeries.

Puma 200 robot. With permission from M.L. Lorentziadis A Short History of the Invasion of Robots in Surgery. Hellenic Journal of Surgery (2014) 86:3, 117–121. © Springer
According to a report by Global Market Insights in 2018, the market for surgical robots was forecasted to grow to $24 billion by 2025. However, designing robotics for medical-use cases is normally a slow process and can often come with compromises between speed and quality.

219 Design, an engineering firm based out of Silicon Valley for the last 15 years, specializes in medical device and surgical robotics development. They have demonstrated that adept engineering that saves time and outputs with impressive results. They have worked with many companies throughout their career including Intuitive Surgical, the maker of the Da Vinci Surgical System, and Auris, the creators of the Monarch Platform- the household (or hospital-held?) names of robotic-assisted surgery systems.

There are many technical aspects in developing a surgical device at the cutting edge of precision and miniaturization. The 219 Design team have helped their clients develop multiple types of medical devices and surgical robotics into the market that have utilized their engineering specialties.

Plan for these Unexpected Areas of Complexity when Developing Surgical Robotics
When thinking about developing surgical robots, core design challenges like kinematics, motion control, and instrument design often come to mind. Unless you plan for them, development timelines can be driven by "peripheral" features in unexpected areas. 219 Design has accelerated surgical robotics system development in these 5 crucial ways:
  1. Designing High-fidelity, R&D Prototypes
    Significant R&D is needed to explore a variety of concepts or prove out new technologies.

  2. Programming the Graphical User Interface
    The user experience is always critical, but never more important than for a surgeon. Implementing a GUI for hardware is a different animal and requires a unique set of skills.

  3. Developing Embedded Production Code
    Amongst the evolving industries utilizing smart connectivity and embedded technology, medical applications can benefit greatly from improved functionality.

  4. Implementing Diagnostic Software Testing
    Testing is arguably the most important step in development. 219 Design has worked with a number of clients to facilitate integration and automation as well as simulation testing.

  5. Conducting Data Analyses
    219 Design works with a variety of teams to build tools that enable engineers to analyze and visualize data and performance.


219 Design has been instrumental in helping multiple organizations’ in the development of their surgical robotics. As this market skyrockets in tech development and value, engineers with experience will be in high demand and 219 Design is here to help.
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