Immersion Corporation, a leading developer and licensor of haptics technology, has announced that SOFAR S.p.A., a leading Italian manufacturer of medical devices for minimally invasive surgery, has obtained a license to Immersion's TouchSense haptics technology for use in its ALF-X (Advanced Laparoscopy through Force Reflection) telesurgical robot system.
TouchSense will provide haptic feedback in the cockpit/console from which surgeons control and manipulate the system, engaging the sense of touch to assist in device navigation and laparoscopic procedures. The license represents momentum for Immersion in the growing robotics surgery market.
SOFAR developed ALF-X in conjunction with the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. The system employs a range of features covering tactile sensing capabilities, versatility, safety and ease of use to improve the quality of laparoscopic surgical procedures.
“While the technological advances in laparoscopic and robotic surgery have improved outcomes and extended the reach of practitioners, they've created a physical distance,” said Craig Vachon, Senior Vice President of Immersion. “SOFAR clearly understands the value of touch feedback in live surgery. Our TouchSense technology bridges that distance and provides the tactile cues that inform a surgeon.”
A market that initially reached $1 billion in 2008, surgical robotics equipment is forecasted to reach $14 billion by 2014.