Robot Nurses, Robot Doctors

Robotics companies are teaming up with health care providers to innovate how patients receive care. Medicine is the next arena about to undergo an information revolution.

What's the Latest Development?

A well known robotics company is teaming up with a large health care provider, hoping to revolutionize the way patients receive medical care. iRobot, the company which makes the Roomba robo-vacuum, has invested $6 million in InTouch Health, a telemedicine company which operates 80 hospitals worldwide. iRobot will be looking to extend the reach of its 'tablet-compatible telepresence robot', a device which facilitates communication between doctors and patients separated by wide physical distances.

What's the Big Idea?

Rapidly advancing technology, particularly in the fields of communication and information, is creating a new generation of medical tools. Toyota has recently displayed its idea for robotic nurses and powerful exoskeletons are enabling the paralyzed to walk. By combining the navigation technology iRobot developed for the Roomba, "medical telepresence robots may not just be a staple in hospitals, but in the homes of the ailing and elderly, too." Sharing the technology, perhaps to reduce costs, may revive the defunct practice of making house calls.

Photo credit:

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
Keep reading Show less