Remember Hospi, the digital porter from 2004? We wouldn't blame you if you didn't, since Panasonic only sold two of the things in the better part of a decade. Now, the company is looking for a do-over, having redesigned the robot to actually provide some use to Japan's hospitals. This time out, the Hospi is designed simply to transport medicines to patients and take medical records to staff members. Not that it's just carrying around the odd beaker or folder, since Panasonic's designed the gear to lug around 44 pounds of weight at any one time. Given that each robot costs almost $100,000, you'd think it might be cheaper just to hire some interns or plumb in a vacuum tube system -- but it transpires that one hospital used the latter, and it cost almost $10,000 a month just to keep it running.

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Panasonic's medical robot returns after the first-gen sold but two