Very Interesting CNBC Article on ISRG... with Ramification for MAKO
Herb Greenberg at CNBC did an in-depth article on ISRG - "Robotic Surgery: Growing Sales, but Growing Concerns". You can find it on CNBC's website right now.
Ramifications for MAKO - I know ISRG has been working on some sort of tactile feedback technology for awhile now. It is complicated for the laparoscopic nature of DaVinci surgeries, but have to believe that what MAKO has in terms of patents/exclusive rights to others' haptic intel props and know-how could be valuable to ISRG. As the concerns grow for ISRG, MAKO should be going up because MAKO is doing robotic surgery RIGHT. There should now be "acquisition premium" building for MAKO. Any comments, folks?
Good article for Greenberg. Bottom line is the FDA will require standardized and certified training. They won't recall ISRG's DaVinci and sales will continue for the most part unabated. One company has proposed a tactile feedback system that would transfer sensation to a surgeon's forehead. Such a workaround takes time and might not be adopted readily. MAKO does have some broad haptic patents that they could theoretically make available for license to ISRG since they are in a field (soft tissue surgery) that doesn't compete with them directly.
Yes! Agree that ISRG and MAKO do not compete with each other; they are peers - listen up Motley Fools :-). It is worth noting that ISRG has been working with putting in some haptic feedback. Many of the anecdotal comments about injuries from DaV stem from accidental burning of tissue or blood vessels using tool attachments. These burns go unnoticed. The inclusion of haptics in MAKO's Rio is a big positive - it's been there since the beginning and fully integrated. This is something that BlueBelt does NOT have.
I would think Mr. Market would start valuing the haptics technology in MAKO with a premium.
It would seem to me that a simple visual readout in a margin of the ISRG screen ( brightness or width of line) that indicates the force (actuator voltage) or loading of the arm would go a long way towards substituting for tactile feedback.