The evolution of medical machines

By Nell Walker
High precision gear expert, Harmonic Drive, has released an infographic tracking the evolution of medical machines, from the dawn of the humble stethosc...

High precision gear expert, Harmonic Drive, has released an infographic tracking the evolution of medical machines, from the dawn of the humble stethoscope to modern medical robots.

Machines have been synonymous with innovation and the advancement of the human race for centuries, and the way they interact with our lives is becoming increasingly symbiotic. From the motorcar and smartphone to industrial automation and medical devices, our lives, and particularly our jobs, would be completely different without the evolution of the machine.
As we rely more and more on machinery to manage and support medical professionals, it is important that accuracy and repeatability become ingrained in the tools we use, especially as we move into the age of the robot. Nowhere is this more important than the healthcare sector.
“When you look at the evolution of medical machines and devices you can clearly see a pattern,” explains Graham Mackrell, Managing Director of Harmonic Drive UK. “As electronics and automation have developed hand in hand, we’ve applied both in innovative ways to improve the quality of healthcare. For instance, the first electrocardiography (ECG) machine was developed in 1903 but medical engineers lacked the means to produce the first wireless ECG machine until a century later in 2003.
“Now we’re seeing robot technology being applied for the benefit of patients in the healthcare system. As with any medical device, it is vital that the increasing trend towards robotics in the operating theatre is supported by precise electro-mechanical technology to ensure patient safety. The next phase of evolution for medical machines will see increasing demand placed on medical robots, and Harmonic Drive is on hand to provide the specialised gears and drives required for accurate, repeatable and safe performance.”
Gears like Harmonic Drive’s new CobaltLine gears, which are compact and suited to the joints of robot arms, ensure zero backlash and smooth operation, minimising risk to patients.
As medical original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) develop new and revolutionary devices, Harmonic Drive can help them create machines that effectively and safely execute their vision.


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