iRobot's mobile medical telepresence robot controlled by iPad app

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Steve Sande
November 19th, 2012
In this article: healthcare, hospital, iPad
iRobot's mobile medical telepresence robot controlled by iPad app

Massachusetts-based iRobot is probably best known for introducing robotics into the home in the form of the popular scurrying Roomba vacuuming robots, but the company also has its hands in many other markets as well. The company recently introduced RP-VITA, a telepresence robot that takes the physical place of remote workers while allowing interaction with other people. Our sister site Engadget has some video of the robot being controlled by an iPad app in a medical setting.

Co-branding the RP-VITA with California-based InTouch Health, the companies are looking at letting doctors do rounds and check up on hospital patients without actually being onsite. A doctor simply taps a location -- like a hospital room number -- on the iPad screen, and the robot scurries off to the room, checking for obstacles along the way. Once at the patient's bedside, the doctor can check vitals or use the built-in screen to talk to the patient.

The video shows the device being tested in a mock hospital setting with dummies as patients. I have to agree with commenter AarghaKnot's assessment on Engadget: "They should make it more realistic. Telepresence robot enters room with clipboard in front of face, mumbles a few formalities, barks orders at a nurse and is gone in less than 2 minutes."

Enjoy the video.

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