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Panasonic’s Endeavor in Popularizing Hospital Robots


Hospi, the hospital robot.

Hospitals are surprisingly “robot friendly” places. Now you know.

It is common that when doctors at hospital need a certain drug, which is not available on spot, so somebody has to be sent to fetch it at the pharmacy downstairs. This should leave extra burden on doctors and medical staff who are already extremely busy at their shift. Now a solution is ready to help handle such problem–a robot could come up, ferrying drugs or devices around hospitals for doctors who are in need.

After a decade’s research and development, Panasonic has now provided its Hospi hospital robots for the hospitals. Ten years ago, the beginning was not easy; the company just sold a total of two robots.

However, as the cost for health care is increasing and costs rising and robot tech is much improved, the situation is now totally changed.

At present, five Hospi robots are operating in Matsushita Memorial Hospital in Moriguchi, Japan. These robots have reduced delivery times drastically by over 30 percent. Although each robot costs US $100,000, together with several hundred thousand more for the infrastructure facilities, but once they are in operation, the maintenance costs are considerably low.

Robots are now easily applicable in the semi-structured environments. In addition, hospitals are regarded as robot-friendly places, where they have flat, well-lit halls and floors and the elevators can help robots ship between floors. If robots come across some moving obstacles, they are able to avoid with current sensors.

Now Hospi is not the only robot used in hospital. Last year, the FDA approved the application of RP-VITA which is kind of telemedicine robot, navigating autonomously within hospital. It is reported that GE has also developed a medical robot which is capable of prepping tools for surgery in addition to other tasks they can undertake.

Well, don’t just sit there, Hospi, fetch me a video of yourself. Here it is–Hospi appears halfway through, at 1:45:

Source: Popular Science