Monday, December 28, 2015

Healthcare robots

I started this post when my sons and I went to see Big Hero Six.  Something for all of us - visual humour, Japanese culture and influence, and health care.   But that was weeks ago and I forgot about this post. 

Then yesterday we saw it again, on a satellite television movie channel.  And I remembered this post.   There is a lot in the plot - microbots, a robotics institute, some self styled "nerds" who end up as a superhero team, and a lot more.   But it was the healthcare theme that particularly caught my attention. 

Baymax is an inflatable healthcare robot.  Activated when people are distressed, he asks you to tell him the level of pain you are feeling, on scale of 1 to 10, which appears on his chest with a chart of smiley faces.  He scans you and can detect your hormone and neurotransmitter levels and therefore work out if you are under stress or agitated.  His chip is programmed with information about medical conditions.

Baymax will not become inactive until you say you are satisfied with your care.  So, if you say you are not, or do not answer, he is not deactivated.

A search today in PubMed for Baymax retrieves zero (and in fact is changed into a search for Bayman).  A similar search in Google Scholar finds references to various bays by people called Max, among other things, but nothing about this inflatable robot.

But, somewhere on the second page of results for a search of Google for Baymax is this page from the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, who work on care giving robots.  They are fundraising to build a "real Baymax", a personal health care companion robot, and this page gives links to information about work already done.  Professor Chris Atkeson  does appear in PubMed and in Google Scholar (and there is a list of his publications on his own personal page, linked from this page), so off I go to investigate!   Balalalalala!

I was originally going to include learning robots (after watching, again, The Incredibles), and although that connects here, I think it needs a separate post.  Which I might write in 2016 sometime.

No comments: