Partners and references

Thanks to our collaboration with strong partners, numerous medical products involving KUKA robots are now available on the market.

Restoration Robotics: Precise hair transplantation using robots

With ARTAS iX™, Restoration Robotics has developed an intelligent solution that combines the minimally invasive removal of hair with subsequent implantation in a single innovative application. The 7-axis sensitive robot, KUKA LBR Med, provides the basis for this. The robot's precision and certification as a component for medical products mean that it is perfectly suited to this application. In this aesthetic procedure, individual hair follicles are extracted, mostly from the back of the head, and then implanted into the designated recipient sites on the scalp. Because the grafts, which are only a few millimeters long, are extracted and implanted thousands of times, repeatability and a consistent level of performance are of paramount importance. That is why the LBR Med, with its unique features, is a perfect match for this application.

Special algorithms are used in an effort to achieve natural looking hair thickness and an optimum outcome for the patient. With ARTAS iX™, Restoration Robotics can sustainably improve the lives of millions of men who suffer from hair loss.

Thanks to ARTAS iX, the hair transplantation process is extremely precise and effective.

Life Science Robotics: Mobilizing bedridden patients with ROBERT®

ROBERT® is an innovative robot that assists with the rehabilitation of bedridden patients. The user-friendly system helps get patients mobilized efficiently and at an early stage, thus relieving medical personnel of physically strenuous work. Considering the fact that the system's main component is an LBR Med, ROBERT® is the first robot in the world to be developed specifically for these rehabilitation purposes.

ROBERT® is a class IIa medical product, is CE-certified in accordance with the Medical Product Directive (93/42/EEC) and is used in hospitals, care centers and rehabilitation centers. The system can perform the exact exercises created by medical personnel and can be adapted to the specific treatment requirements of each new patient.
Thanks to ROBERT, the rehabilitation of bedridden patients can be made easier and more efficient.

Siemens Healthcare: Medical robots for revolutionary X-ray imagery

With the ARTIS pheno, Siemens has brought a new robot-supported angiography system onto the market, replacing its successful predecessor, the Artis zeego. The robotic heart of the X-ray system is a KR QUANTEC with its KR C4 technology, which in recent years has been optimally adapted and expanded for clinical use by the KUKA Medical Robotics team.

The Siemens ARTIS pheno enables quick and precise X-ray examinations of blood vessels using a C-shaped arm which automatically moves around the patient. The region of the body on which the system is focusing can be imaged from virtually all directions without having to relocate the patient. If an examination has to be interrupted, a memory function within the system allows the position to be recreated exactly at a later point in time. This means results can be checked even during an ongoing intervention.

The ARTIS pheno is used in operating rooms around the world for minimally invasive surgery, interventional radiology and cardiology.

Thanks to KUKA technology, the Siemens ARTIS pheno has opened up new dimensions in X-ray imagery (© Siemens Healthcare GmbH)

Accuray: Robot-guided radiation therapy

Accuray has been working together with KUKA since 2000. The first commercially available robot-guided radiation surgery system arose from this partnership. Since then, the CyberKnife system has been brought into use for high-precision tumor treatment at leading radiation therapy centers throughout the world.

Instead of a scalpel, the surgeon uses a bundled, high-energy X-ray beam. As the patient lies on the operating table this beam is guided around him by a robot arm so that the dose is concentrated in the tumor. An imaging system stereotactically records the position of the tumor and signals any movement to the robot, which then compensates for these motions. The CyberKnife is thus able to hit tumors with pinpoint accuracy leaving the surrounding healthy tissue undamaged, irrespective of where in the body the tumor is located.

During treatment with the CyberKnife the patient lies on the treatment table, which is also controlled by a robot. A digital imaging system stereotactically records the position of the tumor and signals any movement – such as motion due to breathing – to the robot. The robot compensates for these motions. This results in extremely high precision and quality of therapy. It is not necessary for the patient to be hospitalized for treatment.

During treatment with the CyberKnife, the patient lies freely positioned on the treatment table, which is also controlled by a robot.

BEC: Patient positioning using KUKA robots

The robot and components supplied by KUKA ensure precise positioning of the patient during radiation therapy. System partners work jointly with KUKA to develop individual solutions for precise positioning of the patient. Buck Engineering and Consulting (BEC) has developed a system for MedAustron. This system, based on a KUKA robot, is in use for positioning the patient at the MedAustron Center for Ion Therapy and Research in Vienna. 

In particle-based radiation therapy, the high-energy ray can only be moved in a very limited manner. Therefore it is necessary to have the facility to move the patient, which is achieved by the use of a robot-controlled treatment table on which the patient lies.

BEC uses KUKA robots for precise positioning of the patient during particle-based radiation therapy (© Thomas Kästenbauer)

AOT: Precise cutting of bones thanks to laser technology

Despite the enormous medical progress in recent years, many surgeons still reach for the saw to cut bones. This conventional method forces loose fragments of bone into the cut surfaces. These fragments then delay the healing process in those areas. The Swiss company AOT intends to change this with the project CARLO (Cold Ablation Robot-guided Laser Osteotomy): using cold laser technology the KUKA robot becomes a medical product that can cut bones on a non-contact basis – and not just straight cuts, but also curved profiles and interlocking profiles. This method has also several advantages for the patient: the surface of the bone remains intact and the cut can be accurately reassembled so the healing time is significantly reduced.

When a laser head is mounted on the KUKA lightweight robot it becomes a non-contact cutting instrument (© AOT)
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