We all know security gets a little heavy eyed when the wee hours of the morning roll around, and we highly doubt the janitorial staff is humming along at maximum efficiency when the residents are snoozing away, so implementing a robot to tackle both tasks seems quite practical. The IWARD project hopes to develop a "nursebot" that wears several hats, and can handle cleaning up spills, utilizing face and voice recognition technology to "communicate with patients and spot unauthorized visitors," and even working in "swarms" to distribute tasks between the robotic crew. Researchers are aiming to have a three bot prototype ready to rock by 2010, and want to integrate sensors and camera to avoid collisions whilst "traveling along high-speed lanes in the hospital corridors." Better steer grandma's wheelchair clear of the robotic raceway, eh?

[Via TechieDiva]

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IWARD nursebot looks to clean hospitals, fend off intruders