Multi-Year Partnership with Major Surgical Company

PickNik serves as a cross-department R&D group accelerating robotics development time to market

Situation

A major player in the surgical industry is building the next generation of robot-assisted surgical systems, driving down the costs of these much needed platforms and improving the medical outcomes for people everywhere.

This company identified that a virtual reality-based simulator would greatly improve the efficiency of their surgical platform’s development, allowing them to rapidly validate mechanical designs, perform user interface studies, and build a training platform for use during employee onboarding and medical professionals.

Problem

They decided that building this VR surgical simulator in house would not be an effective use of their limited engineering resources. This surgical company had a staff of extremely talented roboticists and control engineers, but they were laser focused on the actual product development and did not want to get distracted developing the simulator.

The company was already struggling to hire qualified engineers fast enough who knew advanced control theory, so it couldn’t build a separate in-house team for this simulation tool. Building this simulator required in depth understanding of complex inverse kinematics with various constraints, to control multiple, highly articulated robot arms.

Solution

They reached out to PickNik, based on PickNik’s reputation and extensive experience. Because PickNik had already prototyped and simulated many types of robot arm control systems before, PickNik was able to build up the VR based control simulator quickly.

The surgical company was thrilled with the professionalism and software quality of PickNik’s deliverables, and began to request a variety of new areas of development to assist them. Over the course of several years, PickNik eventually became a large R&D group for their ever changing prototyping needs, well beyond the VR simulation. Efforts included integrating software with hardware prototypes, built by other external firms, and developing the architecture of an important surgical platform subsystems. Outcome

“The software came in before the hardware, which is very rare”
-Senior Technical Program Manager

PickNik’s on demand robotics engineering services helped this major surgical company grow functionality rapidly. PickNik ended up having simultaneous engagements with four different internal teams and cost centers, serving as an important cross-departement consultant on important technical issues at the company. As a result, this surgical company is preparing to launch an improved platform that will save thousands, perhaps millions, of human lives.