Supporting doctors to save lives.

DENSO is applying its innovation to the field of medical technology by developing a robot that helps surgeons save lives. The result is iArmS, a robot that uses advanced DENSO technology to make a real difference for surgeons and society.

Complex surgeries are on the rise.

In Japan's swiftly aging society, there has been a steady increase in difficult surgeries, such as neurosurgeries, that require delicate suturing of blood vessels less than 1mm thick, using 0.02mm threads. Incredibly, these surgeries can last for over 12 hours, putting doctors under enormous physical and mental stress. Even a slight shakes of the hand can mean the difference between life and death.

Three specialties. One objective.

In hopes of lightening the load on surgeons and saving lives, we approached specialists at university hospitals to discuss how our sensing and robotic technologies might lend a helping hand. This led to our launch of a joint project to develop a robot that would support doctors during surgeries. By combining the hospitals' expertise in medical science and medical engineering with our expertise in industrial technology, we achieved our goal.

Safe, stable support for doctors

The stability of doctors' hands is crucial to success in delicate surgeries. iArmS smoothly supports doctors' arms and wrists to reduce fatigue and shakiness without affecting intuitive motion. It does this by alternating between three states — Hold, Free and Wait — without the use of motors or manual switches. 

How does iArmS move?

iArmS employs a finely tuned counterweight system that seamlessly adjusts weight balance in response to the weight and pressure of the doctor's arms to provide safe, effective support without the use of motors.

How does iArmS change modes?

iArmS automatically changes modes based on the movement and pressure of the doctor’s arms as detected by angle-detection sensors in the arm joints and weight-detection sensors in the arm tips. The modes finely adjust brake systems in the arm joints to affect motion. There are no manual mode switches.

Reliable reduction of shaking and fatigue.

In numerous non-clinical studies with neurosurgeons, iArmS significantly reduced hand shakiness, and several participants claimed it reduced arm fatigue as well. iArmS also received high marks from doctors for operability, functionality and safety in 90 surgeries.

From left
Hideki Okuda iArmS Development Engineer
Toshihiko Koyama iArmS Development Engineer

We will support doctors and save lives through further progress.

DENSO technology for our life.

iArmS received an Excellence Award in the Service Robot division at the 6th Robot Awards (2014) in Japan in recognition of its contributions to health and medical technology. iArmS currently supports neurosurgery and otorhinolaryngology, but will support other fields of surgery in the future.
DENSO will continue to support safety and peace of mind by applying its technological expertise beyond the automobile.