A team at Georgia Tech is looking to replace your sponge bath nurse with this sexy beast to the right. No, not the girl. The sponge bath robot next to her, named Cody. He’s the one that wants to wipe you down with his delicate towel hands.
The robot was developed by researcher Charles Kemp’s team at the Healthcare Robotics Lab, and was described in a presentation and accompanying paper (pdf) at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.
The robot uses cameras and lasers to evaluate the human’s body, identifying dirty spots, then gently wipes with its towel hands, making sure not to apply too much or too little pressure. It has flexible arm joints with low levels of stiffness to make sure that it doesn’t push too hard.
Study coauthor Chih-Hung (Aaron) King put himself in the tester’s spot for the robot’s first rubs. He relived the experience for Hizook:
“As the sole subject in this initial experiment, I’d like to share my impressions of the interaction. In the beginning I felt a bit tense, but never scared. As the experiment progressed, my trust in the robot grew and my tension waned. Throughout the experiment, I suffered little-to-no discomfort.”
Hit the jump for a video of the bot rubbing on King:
Sure, you’ve seen doctors use robots to perform surgeries, but how about robots to bring you your Jello afterward? That’s the plan at one Scottish hospital. Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire is running final tests on a robot helper fleet that will deliver food, give drugs, and clean the OR–the first such system in the UK.
As the BBC reports, hospital staff can use PDAs to call the laser-guided robots, which will travel through the hospital via underground corridors and can open doors and operate elevators. The hospital will have some robots performing clean tasks (like prepping a room for surgery) and others dirty tasks (like removing clinical waste)–and believes this will reduce infection caused by the current human system.
The hospital claims that the system isn’t meant to replace people, only to give the staff more time with patients. The robot designers claim that the machines have programming to keep them from hitting people. No one claims that patients will be happy to be attended to by metallic minions, or that doctors and nurses won’t get annoyed by the robots rattling down the hallways.
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Image: flickr / davef3138
Turkish researchers have found that 95 percent of cell phones were contaminated with at least one kind of illness-causing bacteria. They tested the phones and dominant hands of 200 hospital doctors and nurses, and found that almost 35 percent carried two types of bacteria, and more than 11 percent carried at least three types. Perhaps scariest, though, is that one in eight phones were found to carry the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent strain of bacteria that has raised health concerns in hospitals worldwide.