Part man, part machine, all doc
- By: Karen Hebert
Robodoc, a robot that aids communication with off-site doctors, is now doing the rounds at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, United States. Although Robodoc cannot inspect, palpate, percuss, or auscultate, it enables an off-site doctor to have quick and easy access to a patient.
Officially called The Companion, Robodoc resembles a big vacuum cleaner with a flat television screen on top and allows the doctor to communicate with a patient via a mounted camera, speaker, screen, and broadband connection. The doctor can control and move the robot with a joystick. He or she can then see and talk to the patient and the patient can see the doctor's face on the screen.
Robodoc's creator, In Touch Health, a medical robotics company, claim that although Robodoc is not intended to replace a doctor, it can be used in remote areas or difficult situations to access patients more quickly and easily.