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Technology

How to Make a Hospital Stay Even More Dehumanizing: Robot Workers

DiscoblogBy Joseph CalamiaJune 19, 2010 1:11 AM

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Sure, you've seen doctors use robots to perform surgeries, but how about robots to bring you your Jello afterward? That's the plan at one Scottish hospital. Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire is running final tests on a robot helper fleet that will deliver food, give drugs, and clean the OR--the first such system in the UK. As the BBC reports, hospital staff can use PDAs to call the laser-guided robots, which will travel through the hospital via underground corridors and can open doors and operate elevators. The hospital will have some robots performing clean tasks (like prepping a room for surgery) and others dirty tasks (like removing clinical waste)--and believes this will reduce infection caused by the current human system. The hospital claims that the system isn't meant to replace people, only to give the staff more time with patients. The robot designers claim that the machines have programming to keep them from hitting people. No one claims that patients will be happy to be attended to by metallic minions, or that doctors and nurses won't get annoyed by the robots rattling down the hallways. Related content: Discoblog: Robot Model Struts the Catwalk in Japan Discoblog: Tiny Jumping Robot Can Find Enemies, Scale Fences Discoblog: Update: “Corpse-Eating Robot” Actually a Vegetarian Discoblog: Sweden Fines Factory After Near-Deadly Robot Attack

Image: flickr / davef3138

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