Japanese Robots Become Hospital Staff
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Japanese Robots Become Hospital Staff

Tōkyō : Japan | Nov 14, 2010 at 6:29 PM PST
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Robot nurse of the future?

Little by little, robots are infiltrating into areas heretofore unexpected. Even for a nation as obsessed with everything robotic such as Japan, a robot replacing a hospital nurse does seem a little bit over the top.

But such is not the case at a company called Kokoro Co. Ltd where a new nurse robot named Actroid-F has come upon the scene. It can perform human-like movements although they are still a bit jerky at this early stage in development.

Designed to provide patients with companionship during their hospital stays, simulating an intangible bedside manner is difficult. This android works by means of mimicry; the operator makes facial expressions, which are then simultaneously imitated by Actroid-F.

Actroid-F is not alone in the world, although she is the first robot-nurse in Japan. Robots have also been used with considerable success in many American hospitals where they dispense medication, make deliveries and visit patients.

Known as Robot-Rx, this automated system ensures that the right medicine reaches the right patient. It stores and dispenses single doses of drugs for entire hospitals.

Pharmacists enter prescriptions into the computer, the robot collects the dosage by scanning the barcodes, and bags them, while keeping track of all medications.

More and more, hospitals all over the world are realizing that robots are efficient messengers who transport materials like food, x-rays, and linens throughout the hospital, saving wear and tear on the feet of over-worked nurses and aides.

Virtual visits from your physician are here as well. Doctors are examining patients continents away with interactive robots and hi-tech visuals. These robots are fully mobile, with computer screens for heads and real-time video cameras for eyes and ears. Doctors operate them by using a joystick and wireless technology.

Actroid-F is likely to be the nurse of the future, coming to your local theaters, I mean hospitals, very soon.

Pretty scary, huh?

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Jay-ar Mendoza is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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