The Maestro, a collaborative robot developed by Moon Surgical, stands out from the typical robotic systems available in the market. Unlike most robot arms that are rigid and stiff, Maestro offers a unique design. Traditional robot arms are designed with high stiffness and payload capacities, limiting a surgeon's ability to manipulate the arm directly. However, Maestro is specifically engineered to allow surgeons to move and hold laparoscopic instruments attached to its robotic arms. This innovation not only reduces the strain on surgeons but also increases the efficiency and effectiveness of surgical procedures by freeing up assistants.
The concept behind Maestro convinced Dr. Fred Moll, co-founder of Intuitive Surgical, a leading company in surgical robotics, to join Moon Surgical as an advisor and board chair. This achievement is just one among several for Moon Surgical, including FDA clearance for Maestro in December 2022, CE mark approval from the European Union in April 2023, and a successful $55.4 million funding round in May. Additionally, key leadership additions have bolstered the company's progress.
Moon Surgical's accomplishments have been swift, with a Series B funding round completed ahead of schedule. This funding will support the continued development and commercialization of Maestro, with plans for a limited market release in 2024 and a full commercial launch in 2025.
To prepare for manufacturing at scale, Moon Surgical is focused on stabilizing the design and assembling the necessary infrastructure and resources, particularly for the unique arms that differentiate Maestro. While Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci system leads in soft tissue surgical robotics, Moon Surgical aims to address a key issue that has hindered the broader adoption of surgical robotics – the discomfort that surgeons feel when operating from a remote console.
Moon Surgical's goal when founding the company was to offer a solution that delivers the benefits of robotic surgery, albeit with a slightly less sophisticated approach than the da Vinci system. Maestro's disposable couplers enable surgeons to perform procedures with the same laparoscopic tools as before, but with reduced staffing needs. Surgeons become more self-sufficient, acting as their own assistants through the Maestro system. The underlying principle is that the robot adapts to the surgeon's movements, rather than the other way around.
Maestro's innovative architecture is notably different from traditional robots. It offers a haptic interface and impedance control, which allows surgeons to grab the robotic arms and manipulate them with ease. While conventional robots utilize motors and gearboxes for torque amplification, Maestro employs a unique capstan and tendon system for torque amplification without friction or backlash. This design choice allows precise control and movement without the perceived mass of traditional robots.
The system employs stainless steel tendons and passive compensation springs to counterbalance the weight. Moon Surgical is dedicated to minimizing perceived mass to enhance transparency, ensuring that surgeons can manipulate the system intuitively. Challenges include sourcing critical sensors like encoders, which the company addresses by utilizing redundant encoders and actively monitoring joint movements to prevent uncontrolled motion.
Currently, Moon Surgical assembles most components of the Maestro system except for the arms. Internalizing manufacturing is a priority, with plans to finalize arm testing soon and then shift production to the company's base in San Carlos, California. Moon Surgical's strategy involves maintaining an efficient manufacturing team, outsourcing stable sub-components to OEM partners, and focusing on final assembly and testing in-house.
The Maestro represents a significant advancement in collaborative surgical robotics. Its unique design empowers surgeons to manipulate instruments directly, improving procedure efficiency and patient care. With a strong team and innovative approach, Moon Surgical is poised to make a notable impact in the field of surgical robotics.
Source: Moon Surgical
*** Please note that the actual range of procedures the Maestro robot can perform would depend on factors such as its design, capabilities, and regulatory approvals. Additionally, advancements in the technology and its adoption in clinical settings could lead to its use in an even broader range of surgical specialties over time.
R2 Surgical is a global supplier of surgical robots, instruments, parts, and accessories. In addition to providing new models, we promote affordability and sustainability in healthcare by offering a range of options including refurbished and used robots. Our refurbished models undergo testing and restoration to ensure they meet the highest quality standards, enabling healthcare facilities to access cost-effective alternatives that do not compromise on precision or performance. At R2 Surgical, we believe that everyone should have access to the latest medical advancements, and our commitment to offering refurbished and used da Vinci Surgical System models underscores this mission.