K-FLEX, developed by the company EasyEndo Surgical and Professor Dong Soo Kwon from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was selected as one of the top ten machine technologies of the year. The selection was led by The Korean Federation of Mechanical Engineering Societies and commends the efforts of researchers in developing outstanding technologies and products in the field of mechanical engineering. Other top ten machine technologies included liquid nitrogen power tools with increased life expectancy, and air conditioners that utilize Big Data and AI.
K-FLEX is Korea’s first flexible endoscopic surgery robot system, able to perform precise surgical operations by being inserted through channels in our body like a snake. Conventional endoscopy is ineffective when used to perform advanced procedures as it requires cutting three to four holes into the abdomen. On the other hand, K-FLEX uses a bendable overtube with a surgical instrument led by a driving robot arm and a master console to successfully perform procedures that were difficult with traditional endoscopy.
This is not the first time K-FLEX received high acclaim. K-FLEX won the Best Application Award and the championship prize in the “Surgical Robot Challenge 2018” hosted by Imperial College London as part of the annual Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics. Furthermore, in August 2018, KAIST researchers successfully inserted K-FLEX into the abdominal cavity of a living pig to remove its gallbladder. This experiment demonstrated the potential clinical application of the robot.
EasyEndo Surgical is a surgical robot development company founded by Professor Dong Soo Kwon and eight of his students. The company is developing numerous surgical robots with the goal of increasing domestic competitiveness in the emerging global surgical robot market.