How To Develop A Robotic Medical Device

The Artas robotic hair restoration system, developed by Silicon Valley based Restoration Robotics, was acquired in 2018 by Venus Concept Inc., a medical aesthetic technology company.

 Following completion of the deal, Restoration Robotics moved its corporate headquarters to Toronto, Canada. The combined company now operates under the leadership of Venus Concept’s management team.

 The Venus hair restoration division includes NeoGraft, an automated hair restoration system that facilitates the harvesting of follicles during a FUE process and the newly acquired ARTAS and ARTAS iX Robotic Hair Restoration Systems, which harvest follicular units directly from the scalp and create recipient implant sites using proprietary algorithms.

The International Hair Authority interviewed CEO, Ryan Rhodes  and COO, Gabe Zingaretti in 2018 and now shares the reminiscences of Gabe Zingaretti as he looks back on the vision and energy that went into developing The worlds first and only robotic system in aesthetic medicine

I meant to write this article a while back, and while my day is so full and immediate needs for my time arises minute after minute, today I have decided to take some time to express my thoughts.

The world of medical devices is changing, I have seen it before with the introduction of DICOM and PACS. Everything went digital, every medical device company that needed to image something, had to be DICOM compatible. The race was on and every company marched towards the goal. Ultimately, DICOM became the standard and now it’s just a given….that is how the world works!

There is a new race, the race towards using a robot…pretty much for anything. While it is fun, new and having a robotic device in your Series A power deck can help get you some start up money, it may or may not help you in the long run. In fact using a Robot to solve a problem may be the reason your problem may never be solved.

Robots don’t solve a problem, a 6 axis robotic arm implements a solution to a problem. The solution is not the robotic arm. The difference is subtle, yet the outcome is quite different.

When I joined Restoration Robotics, we had a solution to a problem. The problem in a very high level was: “Harvest Hair Grafts, Without Damaging Them and Ease the Physician’s Repetitive Work”. The solution was, we needed an automated system that could repeat the same motion over and over, with precision. We also needed a system that we could couple with a Machine Vision and Artificial Intelligence module.

The best way to implement that solution was a Robotic Arm, we used a 6 axis arm because we didn’t want to develop our own but that wasn’t out of the question, It was a choice. We were in a race, we were racing against time to market. The use of a 6 axis robotic arm saved 3 years from our R&D development and another year from getting all the regulatory agencies’ approvals.

ARTAS was born in 2011, a 6 axis robot with a Vision System so sophisticated it could track hair while a patient is moving without the need of external cameras or sensors. A dissection technique that can manipulate tissue in real time and learn harvest after harvest thanks to its amazing Artificial Intelligence.

So going back to the title, how do you build a Robotic Medical Device? You don’t.

You find a problem, you solve the problem and you implement the solution. If your solution has a robot in there, great! If not that is great too, you want to build the best product there is…Robotic or Not. We build medical devices to help mankind, that should always be the goal!

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