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HKSTP company introduces disposable and robotised flexible endoscope

Image credit: HKSTP, Press Release.

A partner company of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), has developed the disposable robotised flexible endoscope. The fully articulated robotic arm provides accurate manoeuvres and a high level of control to surgeons. Its image processing system enables precise and intraoperative control, yet the instrument remains small and highly cost-efficient.

The company is a spin-out company from Imperial College London with a core research and development (R&D) base at Hong Kong Science Park. It aims to develop precise, agile and intelligent surgical robots. Precision Robotics’ single-use endoscope heads are designed to reduce the risk of cross-contamination due to disinfection issues of surgical instruments, improving the safety and accuracy of surgical procedures.

“The roll-out of the intelligent surgical system by Precision Robotics demonstrates our commitment to shaping the future of robotic surgery, with emphasis on safety, dexterity and accessibility,” said the Director and Co-Founder of Precision Robotics.

Through building up the company’s R&D capacity and leveraging the facilities and resources in HKSTP’s thriving I&T ecosystem, they have gradually established their presence in the Hong Kong, Mainland and Asia markets, which serves as an important milestone in the development of the company’s technology innovation and commercialisation processes, he added.

The need to perform delicate surgical procedures safely in confined spaces has created a growing demand for flexible and agile devices. Key features of Precision Robotics’ disposable and robotised flexible endoscope include 3D stereoscopic HD vision for depth perception; a robotised flexible tip for multi-directional bending for a wider field of view and a flexible endoscope head that enables single and multi-port surgeries at flexible angles.

The Head of Investment of HKSTP stated that the tech company is a portfolio company of HKSTP Ventures, a direct investment fund firm whose vision is to explore investment opportunities in deep technologies, in areas such as AI & Robotics, biotech, fintech and smart cities.

“We are delighted to have further injection from the government, which expands our fund investment pool to a total sum of HK$600 million, accelerating the growth of the local startup and investment ecosystem,” he said.

HKSTP Ventures combines HKSTP’s resources with those of private sector investors to nurture technology start-ups across different investment stages.

The healthcare sector is preparing to adopt the next-generation surgical instruments driven by advanced robotics, with the tech company’s new surgical system being a prime example.

The adoption of single-use robotised flexible endoscope results in considerable cost savings to hospitals, compared with traditional laparoscopes that require the purchase of a whole instrument tower. Currently, several private hospitals are exploring to adopt new technology in their operations.

Pushing MedTech in Hong Kong

MedTech solutions are on the rise around the globe and in Hong Kong as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently OpenGov Asia reported that since its establishment in October 2020, an interdisciplinary team led by Professor Tong Zhang, from the Environmental Microbiome Engineering and Biotechnology Laboratory of the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has collected more than 1,200 sewage samples for tests to help the government track potential virus carriers in the community.

The sewage monitoring system consists of several steps: sampling, inactivation, pre-concentration by centrifugation, nucleic acid extraction, gene testing, and data analysis. In the absence of a standardized and universal method for detecting new SARS-CoV-2 virus in sewage worldwide, the monitoring system was successfully developed by the HKU engineering-led team in December 2020 after various trials.

In the long run, sewage surveillance can provide public health-related information for the Government, institutions and the general public in their joint battle against the pandemic.

Hong Kong’s advanced technology and successful experience can also enrich the world’s experiences in protecting public health and tackling the challenges of other emerging major diseases through wastewater-based epidemiology

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