Nav: Home

Your next nurse could be a robot

October 05, 2016

The nursing assistant for your next trip to the hospital might be a robot. This is the implication of research recently published by Dr. Elena De Momi and colleagues in the open access journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Dr. De Momi, of the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), led an international team that trained a robot to imitate natural human actions. De Momi's work indicates that humans and robots can effectively coordinate their actions during high-stakes events such as surgeries.

Over time this should lead to improvements in safety during surgeries because unlike their human counterparts robots do not tire and can complete an endless series of precise movements. The goal is not to remove human expertise from the operating room, but to complement it with a robot's particular skills and benefits.

"As a roboticist, I am convinced that robotic (co)workers and collaborators will definitely change the work market, but they won't steal job opportunities. They will just allow us to decrease workload and achieve better performances in several tasks, from medicine to industrial applications," De Momi explains.

To conduct their experiment De Momi's team photographed a human being conducting numerous reaching motions, in a way similar to handing instruments to a surgeon. These camera captures were input into the neural network of the robotic arm, which is crucial to controlling movements. Next a human operator guided the robotic arm in imitating the reaching motions that the human subject had initially performed. Although there was not a perfect overlap between the robotic and human actions, they were broadly similar.

Finally, several humans observed as the robotic arm made numerous motions. These observers determined whether the actions of the robotic arms were "biologically inspired," which would indicate that their neural networks had effectively learned to imitate human behavior. About 70% of the time this is exactly what the human observers concluded.

These results are promising, although further research is necessary to validate or refine De Momi's conclusions. If robotic arms can indeed imitate human behavior, it would be necessary to build conditions in which humans and robots can cooperate effectively in high stress environments like operating rooms.

This future may not be as far away as we think. De Momi's work is part of the growing field of healthcare robotics, which has the potential to change the way we receive health care sooner rather than later.
-end-


Frontiers

Related Robots Articles:

Tactile sensor gives robots new capabilities
Eight years ago, Ted Adelson's research group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new sensor technology, called GelSight, that uses physical contact with an object to provide a remarkably detailed 3-D map of its surface.
Researchers question if banning of 'killer robots' actually will stop robots from killing
A University at Buffalo research team has published a paper that implies that the rush to ban and demonize autonomous weapons or 'killer robots' may be a temporary solution, but the actual problem is that society is entering into a situation where systems like these have and will become possible.
Soft robots that mimic human muscles
An EPFL team is developing soft, flexible and reconfigurable robots.
Team of robots learns to work together, without colliding
When you have too many robots together, they get so focused on not colliding with each other that they eventually just stop moving.
Social robots -- programmable by everyone
The startup LuxAI was created following a research project at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg.
More Robots News and Robots Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...