MIAMI – Artificial assistance is common in our lives; examples range from Siri, to Alexa, to Google.
While at times those can be frustrating, some companies are taking the idea of intelligent assistance and beefing it up for more than just directions across town.
A South Florida company hopes to use the technology to change how certain medical procedures are handled.
Neocis, a Miami-based surgical robotics company, focused on the dental space, has come up with a machine called “Yomi.”
Founder Alon Mozes named the device after after a family friend, who was a dentis. It’s the first FDA-cleared robotic surgical device designed to assist with certain procedures, like dental implants.
While not a dentist by trade, Mozes has a background in engineering, receiving degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before earning a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami.
Neocis was co-founded by Juan Salcedo, who also carries an engineering background, having earned degrees from Florida International University in mechanical and biomedical engineering.
Mozes and Salcedo’s experiences and skillsets helped flourish the idea for Neocis and in turn, Yomi, developing it into what it is now.
“They’re trying to drill an implant into your jaw, and they have to worry about hitting a nerve, hitting a sinus, hitting other healthy teeth,” Mozes said. “So they really need precision and accuracy, to get the surgery done as well as they want. And that’s really hard to do with human hands. And that’s exactly where robotics can help.”
The technology with Yomi is best described as haptic robotics, which is to say a robotic guiding system that works hand-in-hand with a dentist, providing real-time reaction and assistance down to the exact degree.
The software enables the dentist to plan everything based on a CT scan virtually, then translates that to the robotic system.
The system, during a procedure, then moves when the user moves, feeling very stiff if going in the wrong direction, while feeling very smooth when moving in the right direction.
Therefore, Yomi doesn’t replace the human so much as it complements them.
“The dentist isn’t cut out of the loop and still has the dentist’s hand on the drill,” Mozes said. “It forces the dentist to drill, essentially coloring inside the lines. So whatever they planned ahead of time in the software is exactly the result they’re going to get.”
The system is also designed to be as non-disruptive to a dentist’s workflow as possible.
Mozes says more than 100 robots are spread across the united states so far, and more than 20,000 implants have been placed with those robots.
“Now we’re at a different level where we can really not only launch these robotic platforms across the United States, as we’re doing now,” Mozes said. “There’s going to be an opportunity to launch it internationally and really disrupt the standard of care for dentistry and I think that is truly exciting.”
In addition to launching broadly across the country and the world, Mozes says the company will soon be moving into a new space in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which would give them significantly more space than they’re operating in now.
Neocis continues to work on new ways of improving the technology, with even more application across the dental space.