Would You Let A Robot Draw Your Blood?
Veebot's automated system can correctly locate a suitable vein about 83 percent of the time, which makes it about as good as a human technician. The company is shooting for 90 percent accuracy before beginning clinical trials.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
California-based startup Veebot has created an automated system that can locate veins for drawing blood and inserting IVs with about the same amount of accuracy -- 83 percent -- as a human technician. Once the patient places their arm into the device, it uses infrared light, a camera, imaging software and ultrasound to find a good vein, and then a robot sets up and inserts the needle, leaving the human tech to attach a test tube or an IV bag. The process takes about a minute from beginning to end.
What's the Big Idea?
According to Veebot founder Richard Harris, who came up with the idea for the device while studying mechanical engineering at Princeton, "blood is drawn a billion times a year in the U.S. alone; IVs are started 250 million times...We believe if this machine works better, faster, and cheaper than a person, people will want to use it." He hopes to get the device up to 90 percent accuracy in the next few months before clinical trials begin, and is currently looking for funding to help cover costs for those trials.
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