In the latest development of Google’s never ending expansion, today we bring news of the giant’s most recent venture into the healthcare industry. With a deal between the two companies expected to be reached by the end of the second quarter, Google and Johnson & Johnson will combine both their intellectual property and resources in joint efforts. The two companies are expecting to bring new innovations to the development of robots present in operating rooms giving surgical assistance. From Google’s side of the table they plan on giving some implementation to their machine-vision and image-analysis software to give surgeons improved visuals with more information as they operate.
More specifically, the partnership is between Google and Ethicon, the latter being a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson primarily focused and specialized in surgical equipment. The two entities hope to revolutionize the methods used in minimally-invasive surgical operations. This could materialize in the form of reduced scarring, pain, blood loss, and recovery duration. Typically, surgeons in the operating room are constantly monitoring multiple screens for images and vital signs. In a statement by Google, they are aiming to reorganize the information onto the same screen surgeons are already using to control their robotic tools. Google even believes that with their innovative software, a version of augmented reality could be superimposed on the real time medical imagery presented to surgeons. This could manifest in the form of highlighted blood vessels, nerves, or even the outlines of tumors.
This latest venture is only one of the many expansions Google has been pursuing. Google is truly setting its sights on the future with investments in transportation, robotics, communications, and now healthcare. Depending on this partnership’s success, the two joined companies could very well pose serious competition for Intuitive Surgical. Intuitive Surgical is a Silicon Valley based company responsible for the da Vinci robot which allows surgeons to operate its many instruments via a computer console. At an investor meeting last year Gary Pruden, head of Johnson & Johnson’s compared surgical robots of today to computers 50 years ago which took up entire rooms. Gary Pruden illustrated a vision for the future where surgical robots would be “laptop size.” While Intuitive Surgical is currently the dominant provider of surgical robots, a venture this big from the likes of Google could bring serious changes to the industry.