Virtual Incision & NASA to Bring Robotic-Assisted Surgery to Space

Virtual Incision’s Mira Platform will perform activities that simulate those used in surgery in space in 2024 aboard the International Space Station.

Omar Ford

August 2, 2022

2 Min Read
Image courtesy of Dennis Hallinan / Alamy Stock Photo

Virtual Incision is going where few if any robotic-assisted surgical (RAS) devices have ever gone before – outer space. The Lincoln, NE-based company said its Mira platform will perform activities in space on a 2024 technology demonstration mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The company said the opportunity is driven by a recently awarded grant from the NASA. The Mira platform is being evaluated for bowel resection procedures.

“The Virtual Incision Mira platform was designed to deliver the power of a mainframe robotic-assisted surgery device in a miniaturized size, with the goal of making RAS accessible in any operating room on the planet,” said John Murphy, CEO of Virtual Incision. “Working with NASA aboard the space station will test how MIRA can make surgery accessible in even the most faraway places.”

Once aboard, Mira will operate inside a microwave-oven-sized experiment locker and perform activities that simulate those used in surgery, such as cutting simulated tissue and manipulating small objects. The device weighs about two pounds and has a much smaller footprint than other developed or developing RAS devices.

“NASA has ambitious plans for long-duration space travel, and it’s important to test the capabilities of technology that may be beneficial during missions measured in months and years,” said Shane Farritor, co-founder and chief technology officer at Virtual Incision. “MIRA continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in RAS, and we are pleased with its performance so far during clinical trials. We’re excited to take it a step further and help identify what could be possible in the future as space travel is becoming more of a reality for mankind.”

The Mira platform doesn’t have regulatory approval but it won an IDE from FDA in October of 2020. Since that time, the company has raised $46 million in a series C round and most recently Virtual Incision obtained an IDE supplement that would allow it to complete enrollment for its clinical trial.


About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].


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