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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Adept’s Purchase of Mobile Robots Expected to Result in Price Decrease for Swisslog’s Hospital Robots

by John Otrompke

Consolidation among the manufacturers of two recently-marketed hospital robots currently sold in the U.S. may result in a price decrease over the course of the next year.
The acquisition of Mobile Robots by Pleasanton, California-based Adept Technology took place last summer. The two companies had manufactured components of two hospital robots, the Robocourier and the Speciminder, sold by Swisslog, a European company with operations in Denver, Colorado. Formerly, Mobile Robots made the base, but now Adept will make both parts of the robot, the base and the top.
While the robots have been 15 years in development, marketing has been taking place in earnest for just over a year, according to Jeff Barber, product manager for Swisslog. 
Currently, about a dozen robots operate in various hospitals, such as Inova Fairfax Hospital (a part of Inova Health Hospital System), where two robots operate in the hospital, and two in the central laboratory, Barber said.
“Seventy percent of people in the hospital have lab tests done,” said Barber, who noted that the Robocourier is equipped for sensitive tasks with a proximity badge reader, an interface for the elevator, and auxiliary devices such as a wireless door interface and an arrival indicator, which can also serve as a call button.
“The domain for the Robocourier is anywhere in the hospital. Perhaps I don’t want it to open the door, but to have something delivered outside, or has an open-topped payload bin and is designed to operate in controlled spaces in the hospital or the lab.
The two robots range in price between $75,000 and $100,000, depending on the services and options that come with it, Barber said, but prices would likely come down over the next year, due to the manufacturer consolidation, as well as increased volume. No robots have yet been sold in Canada, Barber added.
The robots are part of of an array of robotic devices Swisslog sells to hospitals, including a pill picking machine designed to service an entire large hospital, and the MedRover, part of a cart pushed by a nurse. “The robot presents only the medication that’s supposed to be administered, and it reduces the chance of an error compared to if the nurse goes to the medicine cabinet,” Barber said.

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