With the continuous emergence of new technologies, the medical industry ushered in a round of changes. The emergence and application of medical robots is an important force to promote the development of the medical industry to a higher level.

Medical robot can meet the specific needs of medical rehabilitation in complex medical application scenarios, effectively improve the quality of medical service, alleviate the problem of insufficient medical resources, which has been widely concerned, and has become the current research hotspot in the medical field.

The market prospect of medical robot is broad

In the 1980s, the United States Union first combined the industrial robot and medical surgery, successfully completed the neurosurgical biopsy surgery, marking the official start of the development of medical robot.

China attaches great importance to the research and development of medical robots. In 2017, the Ministry of industry and information technology issued the “three year action plan for promoting the development of the new generation of artificial intelligence industry (2018-2020)”, which proposed to focus on cultivating intelligent service robots, medical image aided diagnosis systems and other intelligent products. The R & D and application of medical robots meet the major strategic needs of the country, and play a positive role in alleviating the problem of aging population and meeting the rapid growth of people’s demand for high-quality medical services.

From the perspective of national science and technology development, actively promoting the development of China’s medical robot field is of great significance to improve China’s science and technology level, create a highland of scientific and technological innovation, and attract high-end scientific and technological talents. As far as enterprises are concerned, at present, medical robot is a hot development field in the world with broad market prospects. Focusing on the research and development of medical robot is conducive to improving the technical level and market competitiveness of enterprises. From the perspective of patients, medical robots can provide accurate, effective and personalized medical health solutions to improve the quality of life of patients. High quality development of medical robot industry has multiple meanings.

High market share of rehabilitation robots

In 2014, China set off an upsurge of medical robot applications. In recent years, China has vigorously supported the medical and artificial intelligence industry, and the medical system has been constantly improved. Under the influence of technological innovation, accelerated industrialization and other factors, the medical robot industry has developed rapidly. It can be predicted that in the future, the focus of international medical robot market will gradually shift to Asia, and China’s medical robot market will attract much attention.

According to the relevant information of IFR, medical robots can be divided into surgical robots, rehabilitation robots, medical service robots and medical auxiliary robots according to different functions. According to the incomplete statistics of foresight Industry Research Institute, in 2019, the largest segment of China’s medical robot market is rehabilitation robot, with a market share of 41%; the market share of medical auxiliary robot is 26%; the market share of medical service robot and surgical robot is similar, with 17% and 16% respectively.

Surgical robot

Surgical robot is a combination of modern high technology, known as the Pearl in the crown of robot industry. Compared with other medical robots, surgical robot has the characteristics of high technology threshold, high precision and high added value. In recent years, the integration of production, study and research of orthopedic and neurosurgical surgical robots is obvious, and a large number of scientific research achievements have been transformed and applied. At present, surgical robots have been used in orthopedics, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, gynecology and other operations in China.

At present, the market of minimally invasive surgical robots in China is dominated by imported robots. Da Vinci surgical robot is one of the most successful minimally invasive surgical robots. It was approved by FDA in 2000 and has been the leader of surgical robot market. In 2006, China introduced the first Da Vinci surgical robot. As of 2019, there are 81 Da Vinci robots installed in China, more than 100000 clinical operations have been completed, and more than 6 million patients have been treated by Da Vinci surgical system worldwide. In addition to the minimally invasive surgical robot represented by Da Vinci surgical robot, the orthopedic surgical robot, neurosurgical robot, interventional robot, puncture navigation robot and other surgical robots are also concerned.

With the continuous development of technology, surgical robot is leading minimally invasive surgery into a new era, and the market is developing rapidly. According to trendforce data, the global market size of remote-controlled surgical robot in 2016 was about US $3.8 billion, and it is expected to increase to US $9.3 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate of 19.3%.

Rehabilitation robot

In recent years, with the continuous development of intelligent control technology, functional rehabilitation and auxiliary robot has gradually become one of the important technical means of clinical rehabilitation treatment in the world, and has spawned a number of new rehabilitation robot systems.

With the increasing trend of global aging and the rapid growth of people’s demand for high-quality medical services, the supply gap of medical services is expanding. At present, rehabilitation robot is a kind of robot system which accounts for the largest proportion in the domestic medical robot market. Its market share far exceeds that of surgical robot, but its technical threshold and cost are lower than that of surgical robot. According to the function, it can be divided into exoskeleton robot and rehabilitation training robot.

The human exoskeleton robot integrates advanced technologies such as sensing, control, information, mobile computing, etc. to provide wearable mechanical structure for the operator. The robot can independently or assist the patient to carry out joint activities and assist walking. At present, a number of foreign exoskeleton robots have been certified by FDA and have entered the clinical application stage. The field of exoskeleton robots in China is still in the early stage of research and development. Domestic enterprises engaged in exoskeleton research mainly include DAAI robot, Fourier intelligence, scream intelligence technology, etc.

Rehabilitation training robot is a kind of medical robot to assist patients to enter early rehabilitation training, including upper limb rehabilitation robot, lower limb rehabilitation robot, intelligent wheelchair, interactive health training robot and so on. The high-end market of rehabilitation training robots in China is dominated by European and American brands with high price. Fourier intelligence is the first rehabilitation training robot enterprise in China to realize batch export to Europe and the United States. Its products have helped patients with rehabilitation training in hundreds of institutions in more than 20 countries and regions around the world (see table for some domestic rehabilitation training robot R & D companies and their main products).

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Medical service robot

Compared with surgical robot and rehabilitation robot, the threshold of medical service robot technology is relatively low, but it plays a very important role in the medical field and has a wide range of application scenarios. Such as telemedicine consultation, patient care, hospital disinfection, helping patients with mobility difficulties, delivering test sheets, etc. In China, iFLYTEK, cheetah mobile and other technology companies are actively exploring the development of intelligent medical service robots.

Medical assistant robot

Medical assistant robot is mainly used to meet the medical needs of the disabled or disabled. For example, care-o-bot-3 robot developed in Germany, robot and resyone robot developed in Japan can complete the work of multiple nursing staff, talk with people and provide emotional care for the elderly living alone.

The research and development direction of domestic companion robot is mainly for children’s companion and early education industry.

Grasp the future development trend

Medical robots can help doctors diagnose and treat diseases, reduce manual errors and improve medical efficiency, so as to solve the problem of insufficient supply of domestic medical services, which has a good market prospect. In general, China’s medical robot market has a large growth space in the future under the two-way promotion of supply and demand.

At present, the research hotspots of medical robot technology mainly focus on five aspects: robot optimization design, surgical navigation technology, system integration technology, teleoperation and remote surgery technology, and medical Internet big data fusion technology. Specialization, intelligence, miniaturization, integration and remote are the future development trends. At the same time, the robot’s precision, minimally invasive, safety, stability and other performance will continue to improve.

In terms of personnel training, the research and development of medical robot involves multi-disciplinary knowledge such as medicine, computer science, data science, biomechanics and so on. Some universities have set up relevant professional and scientific research platforms. For example, in December 2017, Shanghai Jiaotong University established the Medical Robotics Research Institute; In 2018, Tianjin University took the lead in setting up the specialty of “intelligent medical engineering”; In 2019, the newly applied “rehabilitation engineering” major of Shanghai University of technology was approved, and China became the first country in the world to set up a special undergraduate major to train rehabilitation engineering talents. Training high-end talents will be one of the key tasks of the industry.

In recent years, the financing heat of medical robot industry has not decreased. According to statistics, by the end of 2019, there were 112 financing events in the field of medical robots. Most of the financing stages are around round A. except for a few enterprises with single financing of more than 100 million yuan, most of the single financing amount of medical robot projects is at the level of 10 million yuan, and the financing amount of angel round projects ranges from 1 million yuan to 10 million yuan.

At present, there are more than 100 medical robot start-up companies in China, many of which belong to the industrial layout extended by industrial robot or medical device companies, and many listed companies such as Fosun Pharmaceutical, Boshi, Keyuan, etc. are also involved in the field of medical robot. Large and well-known venture capital institutions, such as Zhenge fund, IDG capital, edification fund, Jiyuan capital, have long been in the field of medical robotics and accelerated their pace. The development of the medical robot industry has come and will continue.

Editor in charge: CC

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