Frederic H. Moll trained to become a surgeon, but never completed his residency at Virgina Mason Hospital in Seattle. Nonetheless, the doctor-by-training and humble “gadget guy,” has changed the face of medicine for good.

Moll, who is known as the “Bill Gates of robotics,” ushered in the first wave of surgical robotics in 1995 with his company Intuitive Surgical and its Da Vinci systems. That business is now publicly traded with a market value around $51 billion.

But Moll has started a new venture, his fourth, called Auris Health in Redwood City, California. There, he is creating a “second generation of robotic capability” for doctors, he says.

For the unfamiliar, Moll and his team built the Da Vinci surgical systems in the early 90s to help surgeons do their work in a minimally invasive way. These large robots translate the movements of a surgeon’s hands into smaller, more precise motions.

“That was complicated when we did it,” Moll says. “And the challenge was two-fold. We were pushing the capability of robotics as they existed at that time. And we were really fighting from a conceptual standpoint to convince people it was a reasonable idea to use robots in surgery.”

For all the tech advances he’s personally brought to medicine, Moll still doesn’t call himself an engineer.

By Lora Kolodny | CNBC

Image Credit: Auris Health

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