In a few more years, in rural areas it’s going to feel like a doctor is there with the patient while the doc is miles away although the iRobot will be in its place.
iRobot even retooled itself to build an emerging technologies group, announcing a partnership with InTouch Health to put its AVA telepresence technology to better use. Today the two companies are announcing the fruits of their labor — the Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant, or RP-VITA. The project aims to combine the best of iRobot’s AVA telepresence units with InTouch health’s own bots, creating an easy to use system that allows physicians to care for patients remotely without stumbling over complicated technology.
Joe Tripician, an Emmy Award winner producer/writer/director has recently contacted me about his new book, Immortality Wars which focuses on the hypothetical future where artificial intelligence meets human immortality. I love such thoughtful sci-fis and I’m happy to announce a give-away contest of his e-book for the first 5 people leaving a comment on this post.
“Immortality Wars” paints a wicked portrait of the near-future, one where technology’s goals require wars to bring them to creation. In this world human ingenuity is a saving grace, and immortality is not necessarily forever.
I got access to the Robot Report written by Frank Tobe from the recent Consumer Electronics Show 2012. He featured many innovative and futuristic consumer robots out of which a few, I think, had real medical or health-related implications. You can download the document here. An excerpt:
Consumer robotics represented a very small part of CES but had the same combination of glitz, glamour, marvelous stuff, misrepresentation, uninspiring products and hidden gems, just like the rest of CES. Robotics Trends hosted a Robotics Tech Zone but the action was well beyond their purview because many of the companies wanted to emphasize their consumer orientation instead of highlighting the robotic.
- PerMMA, a personal mobility and manipulation appliance for power wheelchair users.
- Myomo, rehabilitation robotics and interactive gaming systems for stroke victim rehab.
- Mantaro telepresence robot, a mobile Skype platform using your own iPhone or iPad.
- Paro, the therapeutic furry seal-like bot for hospitals and eldercare.
My good friends at Medgadget.com attended Future Med and covered the whole event through a great series of posts. It’s really worth reading the whole bunch of entries.
Medgadget featured a video in which Dr. James Porter of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle folds a paper airplane with the da Vinci medical robot and attempts to make it fly.
Here is another video in which Dr. James Porter again gives his daughter a manicure with the da Vinci surgical robot to demonstrate how this device gives surgeons greater surgical precision and dexterity over existing approaches.
It’s just getting more and more amazing how robotics can be implemented into healthcare. One of the latest examples belongs to the UCSF Medical Center where they now use robotic pharmacy in order to remove medication errors from the system. The most impressive thing, we think, is that our robot pals have not had a single error since preparing 350,000 doses of meds.
Robots are slowly taking over the world, right? Well, their latest conquest is the pharmacy. The UCSF Medical Center has implemented three robotic pill-dispensing machines that handle and prepare medication that’s dangerous to the common human. The process works as follows: doctor writes a prescription, hospital clerk sends it over to pharmacist, pharmacist enters slip into the computer, robot picks up it and does the dirty work. The automated machine will grab the proper dosage, package it and slap a label indicating instructions and patient info. Rather than fearing for their jobs (or lives), the folks at the UCSF at are excited about this robot-takeover ’cause it increases the time care-givers spend with patients while allowing pharmacists to work more efficiently with physicians in determining what medication to supply.
(Hat tip: Engadget)
Medgadget shared a nice video about the da Vinci robot and the outtakes remained from filming a commercial by the Florida’s Health First hospitals.
And if we mentioned the da Vinci robot, engineers from Johns Hopkins University managed to connect it to the $150 Microsoft’s Kinect 3D controller.
Medgadget just featured a video describing how EMG (electromyography) could be used in tools created for people with disabilities. Here is an excerpt from the Microsoft announcement:
Many human-computer interaction technologies are currently mediated by physical transducers such as mice, keyboards, pens, dials, and touch-sensitive surfaces. While these transducers have enabled powerful interaction paradigms and leverage our human expertise in interacting with physical objects, they tether computation to a physical artifact that has to be within reach of the user.
As computing and displays begin to integrate more seamlessly into our environment and are used in situations where the user is not always focused on the computing task, it is important to consider mechanisms for acquiring human input that may not necessarily require direct manipulation of a physical implement. We explore the feasibility of muscle-computer input: an interaction methodology that directly senses and decodes human muscular activity rather than relying on physical device actuation or user actions that are externally visible or audible.