Johnson & Johnson acquires surgical robot firm Auris

Johnson & Johnson logo on top of a building.
Johnson & Johnson is expanding its medical device division. Photo: Cristina Arias/Cover via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson is buying Auris Health, a venture-backed maker of surgical robots for lung cancer procedures, for $3.4 billion in cash. Auris could receive another $2.35 billion if the company hits certain unnamed milestones.

The big picture: Frederic Moll founded Auris as well as Intuitive Surgical, the world's predominant maker of surgical robot machines. However, research shows robotic surgery costs a lot more than conventional surgery, but "does not result in statistically better treatment outcomes."

Expert Voices

Increasing autonomy under the sea

Artist rendering of an underwater AV with robotic arms, courtesy DARPA
Artist rendering of an underwater AV with robotic arms. Illustration: DARPA

Partially autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles are used to map oceans, observe sea life and pollution, clear underwater unexploded ordinance, and monitor oil and gas pipelines — jobs that are dangerous or impossible for divers.

What's next: Advanced communication technology, better batteries, and other breakthroughs could result in vehicles with more autonomy, capable of more complex missions.

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