Medical robot is doctor's eyes on battlefield
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Date posted: 10/12/2008
Posted by: Site Administration
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An American soldier is hit by enemy fire in Iraq. A Humvee speeds him to a field hospital just outside the combat area. He looks up groggily to see a robot peering down at him.

"How ya doing, soldier?" asks the robot. Its face is a TV monitor displaying the image of an expert trauma surgeon sitting at a laptop in the Ryder Trauma Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Medical Center, 11,200 miles away. The robot sends the soldier's image and voice to the distant doctor.

Under the guidance of the Ryder surgeon, doctors and nurses in the distant field hospital tend the soldier's wounds.

The robot doesn't touch the patient, but it lets the doctor from afar see and hear the patient and the on-site doctors, and let's them see and hear the distant doctor, carrying on a conversation.

It's a scenario that could happen within a year, under a final-phase trial going on now at Ryder in conjunction with the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center, the American Telemedicine Association, Qualcomm, which provides the broadband connectivity, and InTouch Health, maker of the RP-7 robot.

"This is an incredible piece of technology," said Dr. Jeffrey Augenstein, director of the trauma center. "It's OnStar on steroids."

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