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Updated: 26/3/24 Intuitive Da Vinci 5 vs Xi an early review - but it’s more what they’re not telling you that you need to know

Updated: Mar 26

Included in this blog:

New haptics, insufflation system, new console with new control arms, helm, new control panel, energy systems, information system, vision system and more below:



da Vinci 5 vs Da Vinci Xi - Intuitive
da Vinci 5 vs Da Vinci Xi - Intuitive

So the rumours of modular systems and open consoles can be put to bed (for now.)

What is clear is a very clever strategy that we are seeing unfold here. These two statements brings everything into clear sense:


Statement1: “Force Feedback instruments, which are optional for use with da Vinci 5, are cleared for use in the same procedures as da Vinci Xi, except pediatric and cardiac procedures, and a specific contraindication for the Force Feedback needle driver for use in suturing during hysterectomy and myomectomy procedures.”



Statement 2: “We design our systems so we can integrate new functions, capabilities, indications, and instrumentation over time,” said Curet. “Our careful attention to customers’ long-term needs and goals has led our systems to become the hospital standard, and we expect to continue developing and innovating da Vinci 5 and da Vinci Xi over the coming years.”


Statement 1 indicated that da Vinci 5 has gained broad clearance to be used in almost all the same procedures as the Xi. That is a killer for all competitors.

This is why a smart strategy to make the system as “close” to the Xi as possible in architecture has been the chosen path. This leapfrogs the DV5 above all other systems that will come to the USA in the next years. Broad procedures is the critical tick box they needed so that any hospital could convert from an Xi to DV5 and not be penalised by not having most procedures covered. No other system will gain clearance with that ability.

This is massive !!!


But the down side of that is it similar in many ways TODAY to the Xi. They wanted to get the base technology through the clearance process with as broad procedure coverage as possible.

So Statement 2 is what is critical - and it discusses the future add on of “functions, capabilities, indications and instrumentation” over time.


I predicted that this decade cycle would move robots to have a core chassis that can be upgraded - and I’m going to dive deep into that below. It is clear how they have engineered this system for upgrades over the next years. It’s smart.


Watch now over the next 2 or 3 years for several 510Ks as dormant functionality is switched on, components are upgraded and features added. This has not been a technological choice but a regulatory step process choice to lower the barrier to get the main system cleared. Smart.


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Bedside Boom Design of the da Vinci 5:

da Vinci 5 vs da Vinci Xi boom comparison
da Vinci 5 vs da Vinci Xi boom comparison

The DV5 boom architecture is exactly the same as the Xi architecture on the outside. It uses 4 arms from a central tower. It is clear however that what is under the skin is very different. The tried and tested Xi architecture will has allowed Intuitive to convince FDA that historic data on millions of procedures is applicable - especially if some of the new functionality is dormant. But I will double down on the fact that there are a lot of smarts under the arm’s skin that we won’t see for a while yet. Such as collision avoidance.


da Vinci 5 (DV5) arm details verse da Vinci Xi
da Vinci 5 (DV5) arm details verse da Vinci Xi

Clearly we can see that the arms are externally similar - but in the DV 5 image we can see a force feedback instrument. I will talk a lot more about force feedback - I did discuss this in great depth in my other  DV speculation report and am pleased to say I was right. They are releasing a range of high end force feedback (haptic) instruments. I gather they used the words force feedback because it is one aspect of Haptics - and is technically correct if they are delivering back to the user force sensations in the instruments.

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