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Humanoid Robot for Medical Applications

By Nick Thayer

My research interests include biomimetics, robotic design, mechatronics, robot dynamics and artificial intelligence.
My current project involves creating a more realistic experience for emergency room trainees by improving the technology currently available in medical dummies.  This requires an in-depth knowledge of human-robot interaction; mainly, which attributes of the robot invoke a sense of urgency and realism in the trainee.  An example of such dummy is shown in figure 1.  Simman 3G has capabilities like pupil dilation, drug delivery, artificial pulse and an evolving physical state but its limitations include a static, artificial-looking face, no vision and immobile limbs.


Simman 3G, state-of-the-art medical simulation dummy Figure 1: Simman 3G, state-of-the-art medical simulation dummy



Body and face of current robotic training system Figure 2: Body and face of current robotic training system


The face of the robot must be capable of displaying all essential emotions to successfully communicate mental and physical states to the trainee.  Movable eyes with mechanisms for dilating, tearing up and vision allow the robot to react more realistically to tests therefore increasing functionality.  The ‘state’ of the robot will also evolve over time in response to how the trainee treats it so sufficient physiological research is done to properly replicate these states. 
The robot will have moving arms and legs and must be controlled in a manner to eliminate the possibility of harming a trainee; therefore, feedback sensors have to be incorporated at most joints.  The current robotic hand has 23 DOF including a 3 DOF wrist with human-like range of motion.


Current version of robotic hand Figure 3: Current version of robotic hand

 A dexterous hand and arm are important because they also communicate information to the trainee through body language or response to commands. 



ISEE 2008 Figure 4: 2008 The International Capstone Design Fair award as part of the International Symposium on Educational Excellence 2008 (ISEE 2008)

 Latest News Release

New Robotic Hand Types, Moves Like Its Human Counterpart by Daily Tech

Robotic hand Promises human_like Movement by EVERYTHING PR (Schweich, Germany)