Within 10 years, at least 1,000 new jobs will emerge in the surgical robotic technology in and around Eindhoven. This is what Maarten Steinbuch, professor of Control Engineering at the TU/e, writes in his column for E52. The 1,000 jobs represent a growth of 60% per year.

According to Steinbuch is the Brainport region is ideally suited for the further development of this particular sector. Technology is the starting point. “We are unique in that. But it also depends on good entrepreneurship and high quality manufacturing. Also aspects that are well available in this region.”

The basis for further development is already there, for example through the startups Microsure and PrecEyes, both co-established by Steinbuch. Together they employ 12 people now. To be able to add more companies in the surgical robot technology, Medical Robotic Technologies BV (the incubator BV connected to the TU/e research group CST) was established. In the coming year already two new startups could be created from it. Steinbuch: “It is built on the combination of a number of good new ideas and research, so with students and PhD’s, but especially by building on what we already have now, along with the manufacturing industry, investors and market participants.”

The expectation of 1,000 new jobs in 10 years is based on an average growth of 60% per year. “That means doubling every 18 months and thus we adhere well to Moore’s Law.” But very carefully, Steinbuch also thinks more is possible. “60% per year seems totally feasible. But if we were able to double every year from now, we will have 12,000 people at work in 10 years. Why not?”

The new jobs are mainly in research, development and marketing. The operating tables will remain the space for ‘normal’ surgeons. Yet Steinbuch expects things to change there as well: “The skull robot will be the first to fully work independently, in due course. I foresee a slow but steady transition to more and more systems that can operate smarter.”

Foto Bart van Overbeeke

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