Medical Robotics Magazine

The first and only commercial feature medical robotics news magazine, founded February 2007 by John J. Otrompke, JD, consultant and publisher


Medical Robotics Magazine is the world's first and only commercial feature news magazine devoted to all aspect of the medical robotics industry- including robotic surgery, physical therapy robots, hospital orderlies, and other topics related to robotic medicine. As a feature magazine, Medical Robotics features interviews, business news, conference coverage and editorials, as well as a generous portion of articles written by noteworthy robotics surgeons as well as clinical trials reports. MR has been on-line since 2007, and first appeared in print in January of 2008 at the annual meeting of MIRA (the Minimally Invasive Robotics Association) in Rome, Italy. Medical Robotics Magazine is copyrighted, features a nascent Board of Editorial Advisors, and is indexed by the U.S. Library of Congress. All contents (c) 2011 John J. Otrompke, JD Contact: John J. Otrompke, JD 646-730-0179

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

EU Project to Develop Psychically-Linked Team of Hospital Robots

EU Project to Develop Psychically-Linked Team of Hospital Robots

By John J. Otrompke, JD, for Medical Robotics magazine

A three-year research project funded by the European Union will endeavor to develop a more communicative team of robots which will interact with each other to specialize or reassign tasks as the case may be, according to researchers.

Scientists from the universities of Warwick, Newcastle, and Dublin celebrated the kick-off of the ISWARM project last month, according to senior researcher Thomas Schlegel. Test runs of the $5 million project are expected in the second half of this year, according to Schlegel, who is associated with the Institute for Industrial Engineering at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. The EU contributed $2.5 million of the $5 in funding for the project.

“Today we have single robots, not swarms, which can carry parts in a hospital, but they’re normally quite huge robots,” said Schlegel, who has previously worked on similar projects with RoboSoft, an organization which develops robots for service and transport. Other robotic prototypes under development in Europe include the CareBots I and II, he added.

The ISWARM robots are intended to be unique in the hospital setting, because they will be part of a three-robot team which will be able to communicate with one another through wireless channels or out loud if necessary, and be able to reassign tasks among the team, Schlegel said.

“If you ask the robot to clean the floor and he’s not able to, he will call another one in his Swarm to do this task,” said Schlegel. “They will be able to warn each other if they see somebody coming around the corner, in a rush, for example,” he said.

Other capabilities planned for the project include facial and voice recognition. “They could also recognize unusual cases, like where somebody is lying on floor,” added Schlegel. The robots also could be equipped with a laser thermometer to measure body heat from a distance and could be used to administer medication. Communication modes may include wi-fi or Blueteooth, he said.

Four hospitals, located in England, France, Spain and Turkey will partner with the developers to host trials of the project later this year.

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