Next Month, A Japanese Hospital will use Robots to help during the Night Shift

A robot travels automatically inside Nagoya University Hospital carrying a load of drugs and test samples. (Ayako Tsukidate)

Nagoya, Japan once had a whole museum dedicated to robotics, so it comes to no surprise (at leas to us here at The PractitioNERD) that a local hospital will add robots developed by Toyota Industries — a subsidiary of the automaker that produces auto parts and electronics — to its medical staff. While these bots won’t be conducting surgeries (yet, anyway), come this February, four robots will be deployed at Nagoya University Hospital will transport medicine and test samples from floor-to-floor for a one-year trial period during its 5PM to 8AM night shift. Should the trial succeed in assisting the staff during times when fewer people are walking the floors, the hospital may elect to deploy more units.

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These robots are not the bipedal, walking ones at Boston Dynamics or like the humanoid robot that is being developed to hold a conversation. Actually, the robots at the hospital are essentially mobile 90-liter capacity refrigerators that use radar and cameras to navigate around the hospital. Plus, if they run into their human counterparts, they’re programmed to either dodge them or politely state pleasantries like ‘Excuse me, please let me pass.’ Also, the hospital staff can request the robots to arrive at a specific destination to deliver almost-any medical payload via a tablet.

[Thanks The Asahi Shimbun]

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