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Developing Robots For the Hospital Emergency Room

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Vanderbilt University researchers formed an interdisciplinary team to study the use of robots in hospital emergency rooms. The researchers envision a system of cognitive robots that can collect medical information, take diagnostic measurements, and provide preliminary diagnoses to human staff. "Advances in humanoid robotic design, in sensor technology, and in cognitive control architectures now make such a system feasible," says Vanderbilt professor Mitch Wilkes.

The researchers are developing TriageBot, a robotic system designed to work with emergency room patients with non-life threatening problems. TriageBot will involve a series of electronic kiosks near the registration desks, special smart chairs, and mobile robots that can monitor patients in the waiting room. The final part of the robotic system is a supervisor that monitors the robots and communicates to the hospital staff.

"Our architecture is designed to allow robots to integrate quick decision-making with the more common deliberate decision-making process in flexible ways," says Vanderbilt professor Kazuhiko Kawamura. "If cognitive robots are to operate successfully in a human environment, they must be able to choose actions with a similar rapidity, particularly in a chaotic environment like the emergency room."

From Vanderbilt University
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