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.

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