TransEnterix (NYSE:TRXC) is betting that the haptics technology in its Senhance robot-assisted surgery platform will help it make headway against Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) and its 10-year lead on the market.
CEO Todd Pope told MassDevice.com that the Senhance’s haptics – the system’s ability to convey a sense of touch and resistance to the surgeon – are an important selling point with physicians.
“The 1 thing that they tell us, as far as a feature that they miss the most on robotics, is the sense of feel or touch. When surgeons do open surgery, they rely on their hands and touch a great deal. Even with laparoscopic surgery, they have that tactile feedback. They have none of that with the current robotics systems today,” Pope told us. “Surgeons have told us when they’re dissecting tissue planes, when they’re working around important vessels or organs, often the sense of touch is just as important for them to discern what they want to do next in the surgery as anything else.”
The TransEnterix haptics tech works on the concept of force feedback, he explained. Senhance’s interaction with tissue is fed back as haptic force to the surgeon’s hands. In demos of the system, surgeons are able to knot a suture while blindfolded, Pope said.
“We had so many surgeons that are using the Senhance say that it was enhancing their senses, it was taking their sense of feel, their sense of touch, and, certainly, their sense of sight and really enhancing it,” he said.