Monday, April 02, 2007
Nursebot--the robotic 'angel'
There are many applications in the medical field for autonomous robotic systems. These include micro surgery, remote surgery e.t.c. These applications are often more advanced and complicated and thus are subject to much interest and research efforts. However, we cannot neglect the less glamorous fields of post surgery as well as out of hospital health care. I have chosen to look at the role that companion robots can fulfill in the healthcare industry. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have jointly developed automated aides. These are 'nursebots' which are being designed to monitor elderly clients to provide healthcare roles such as reminding them to take their daily medication. These robots provide a two way link such that healthcare personnel can be used more efficiently as they can remotely monitor a larger number of patients at one time. It allows sick elderly patients to be able to receive the same nursing care at home as they have in the hospitals, allowing them to recuperate and heal in a less intimidating environment. Much research has been done to ease the elderly into accepting robotic technology as the older generation is often suspicious and apprehensive about modern technology. This is done through the development of more humanlike robots in terms of movement as well as facial features. These robots need to be meticulously tested and their functionality comprehensively accessed to ensure that they actually serve to facilitate health care for the elderly and can work bug-free. This is especially important as the elderly are physically vulnerable. posted by Chen Songyi u036339w