Medical Robotics Magazine

The first and only commercial feature medical robotics news magazine, founded February 2007 by John J. Otrompke, JD, consultant and publisher


Medical Robotics Magazine is the world's first and only commercial feature news magazine devoted to all aspect of the medical robotics industry- including robotic surgery, physical therapy robots, hospital orderlies, and other topics related to robotic medicine. As a feature magazine, Medical Robotics features interviews, business news, conference coverage and editorials, as well as a generous portion of articles written by noteworthy robotics surgeons as well as clinical trials reports. MR has been on-line since 2007, and first appeared in print in January of 2008 at the annual meeting of MIRA (the Minimally Invasive Robotics Association) in Rome, Italy. Medical Robotics Magazine is copyrighted, features a nascent Board of Editorial Advisors, and is indexed by the U.S. Library of Congress. All contents (c) 2011 John J. Otrompke, JD Contact: John J. Otrompke, JD 646-730-0179

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Medical Robotics an Active Specialty at Lake Superior State University in Michigan

Small School’s Acclaimed Program in Undergraduate Robotics Pursues Technology Transfer by Doing “The Opposite

By John Otrompke

March 23, 2011- Chicago

Lake Superior State University in the brisk town of Sault Sault Marie, Michigan, had a quandary.

“For years, we had an abundance of senior projects, but we were turning away a lot of good projects, and good ideas,” said Eric Becks, president of the school’s technology transfer project, SSMart.”

To date, the department has worked on more than its share of innovative medical projects, Becks said. “We just finished working on a surgical platform for a veterinary project, and now they are waiting on the FDA,” he added.

Veterinary platforms, while honorable, are not the only work the small school has done in the area of medical robotics. Inventors are often drawn to the public college on Michigan by the school’s unique approach to technology transfer.

“In most technology transfer departments, the school takes an idea, and tries to get somebody to commercialize it,” Becks said. “We work in ‘the opposite’ direction: the inventor is getting the license and patent, and we’re just getting paid for the engineering work,” he added.

Development of a prototype in medical robotics could cost a researcher between $10,000 and $100,000, not including the FDA approval process, according to Ron DeLap, PhD, dean in the college of engineering.

Not only is the school’s work a good deal for medical robotics inventors, but it is also attractive for students, Becks said. “Very few schools, like Princeton and Carnegie-Mellon, have an undergraduate program in robotics, and they tend to be a lot more expensive than our school is,” he explained.

Classes usually size about ten to fifteen students per class, and the program costs just $8,000 per year, plus an additional $8,000 per year in room and board, DeLap said. Graduates tend to get at least three to five job offers, he added.

In addition to the veterinary surgery platform and another project in preliminary discussions involving the design of a miniature surgical robot, the program also worked for a New Mexico doctor who ordered the construction of an anti-deep vein thrombosis machine to prevent blood clots, Becks said.

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