Japan firms make advances in robotic surgery

Japanese tech firms are making big inroads into the market for robotic surgery. They're working on innovations that could enhance medical care and ease the nationwide doctor shortage.

Sony Group recently unveiled a prototype of a microsurgery assistance robot. The arms can reproduce human hand movements with greater stability and precision, which is essential in delicate procedures -- such as when stitching blood vessels under a microscope. The system comes with a high-definition display that reproduces color, texture and depth in detail.

Mikami Kei, a Sony Group official who is developing the system, said, "The biggest advantage is that they enhance human skill. This gives us a chance to expand advanced medical care."
A robot developed by Japanese startup Medicaroid is already in use. The machine has assisted in more than 5,000 laparoscopic keyhole surgeries since being commercialized in 2020.

Medicaroid's backers include Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which has invested heavily in robotic surgery.

The Da Vinci robotic surgical system designed by a US firm has dominated the market for many years. But since its patents started expiring a few years ago, competition has been intensifying.