Paul: Welcome everyone to the second and final portion of our interview with Dr. Tamás Haidegger. Tamás is a researcher, author, surgeon, entrepreneur, inventor and blogger in the field of robotic surgery.
Last week we learnt how Tamás got started in the fast-paced field of robotic surgery. We also spoke about some of the competitive forces at work in the global medical robotic space and emerging innovations. Today we will continue our exploration of this exciting field.
Paul: So Tamás what advice would you give to persons considering a career in the robotic surgery field?
Dr. Tamás Haidegger: As a junior surgeon, familiarize yourself with technology! There are very few areas of surgery where robotics will not play a significant role in 10 years – in the Western world at least. There is always a big potential for fast growth in new domains. Nevertheless, the majority of the world cannot afford these high-tech, high-priced gadget for healing, and not much will change in the next decade. After that, I envision the rise of the more affordable, simplified surgical robots.
As an engineer, this is just a marvelous time to have a career in this field: access to information is very easy, people are mostly friendly in this domain, and the rewards are high.
Paul: On a more personal note, what do you consider to be your mission in life? What is the most important problem that you want to solve?
Dr. Tamás Haidegger: Currently, I want to support those initiatives that help existing and new Computer Integrated Surgical (CIS) systems to make sense. Both in engineering and economic sense; that is why I got involved with the standardization of the field. Under different Standards Development Organization’s (SDOs) umbrella (like the International Organization for standardization (ISO), the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) ), we have already published the very first surgical robotic standards, and there are more to come (on basic safety and essential performance criteria). I consider safety a most critical issue here. Along the way, naturally we publish papers, graduate students, develop new prototypes, and in general, pushing the state-ot-the-art further.
Paul: How do you stay focused, motivated and energized to pursue your life’s mission?
Dr. Tamás Haidegger: I believe it is a quote from Teik Seng Tan: “If you enjoy your job, you will never have to work for your entire life.” Also, you are not doing it alone. As one of my mentors, Prof. Russ Taylor said: “The key is to get smarter people than you are, and make them excited about your problem!” As long as you have a great team, a meaningful project, a little bit of funding and clear goals, you can stay very motivated.
Paul: I’d like to give you the opportunity to tell our audience about the services you offer and also let people know where they can find out more about you and get in touch?
Dr. Tamás Haidegger: Our lab is part of the Da Vinci Research Kit community, thus we are already collaborating a handful of excellent academic centers, but always happy to open towards new opportunities (http://irob.uni-obuda.hu). Through our clinical engineering and medical university partners, especially the Austrian Center for Medical Innovation and Technology (ACMIT) we can offer a full range of surgical system development services, including validation and certification. As a service to the community, I started a blog on surgical robotics 10 years ago (http://surgrob.blogspot.com), which is still open for guest posts and fresh news.
Paul: Thank you for taking the time to be with us and sharing your insights! We wish you every success.
Dr. Tamás Haidegger: Thanks for the opportunity.
Be sure to join us next week when we focus on how robotic surgery is making inroads into medical practice in Egypt the Land of the Pharaohs.