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Coming soon to your hospital - robot nurses

The flying car might not have arrived as yet, but that other staple of vintage sci-fi, the robot, looks set to enter our everyday lives with the introduction of robot nurses in the next three years.

The robots, which are being developed by EU-funded scientists as part of the IWARD project, will perform basic tasks such as mopping up spillages, taking messages and guiding visitors to hospital beds. They could also distribute medicines and monitor temperatures remotely with laser thermometers. And they will be able to communicate with each other to co-ordinate duties.

Scientists aim to have a three-robot prototype system ready by 2010. If successful, it's hoped that they will ease pressure on hospitals and free staff to spend more time with patients. And the additional cleaning help could reduce infections by hospital superbugs such as MRSA.

According to project leader Thomas Schlegel: "The idea is not only to have mobile robots but also a full system of integrated information terminals and guide lights, so the hospital is full of interaction and intelligence. Operating as a completely decentralised network means that the robots can co-ordinate things between themselves, such as deciding which one would be best-equipped to deal with a spillage or to transport medicine."

Would you like to be assisted by a robot nurse? Let us know.

Via The Scotsman

More robots:
Vintage-style Karakuri sake-serving androids
iRobiQ ubiquitous home robot

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