Sunday, October 14, 2007
Do you have any Idea about->
Does Lab VIEW prog. support (link) with Player Device?
If so please leave a comment.
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Published: Friday, October 12, 2007
PARIS - France will triple its number of video surveillance cameras by 2009, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Friday, adding the measure was necessary to fight terrorism and street crime.
Alliot-Marie told Le Monde newspaper video surveillance had remained relatively undeveloped in France.
"The latest attacks in London were prevented thanks to their video surveillance system, (which is) 10 times more developed than ours," she told Le Monde.
A security camera (Figure) is seen in the World Trade Center PATH station in New York July 10 , 2007. France will triple its number of video surveillance cameras by 2009, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Friday, adding the measure was necessary to fight terrorism and street crime. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
An official report put the number of authorized cameras in France at around 340,000 at the moment, Le Monde said.
Alliot-Marie said Paris's RATP public transport network would increase its numbers of cameras and the exchange of images between local communities would also be strengthened.
"I'll be particularly vigilant that French people's safety will always be assured in respect of their freedoms," she said.
France stepped up security measures after the 2005 attacks in London's transport system that killed 52 people.
French authorities have also said gang violence is an increasing problem in Paris, which has been the scene of repeated scuffles between rival gangs in recent months.
Alliot-Marie last month announced the creation of a special police cell on youth violence and said information collected through video surveillance should be shared among different services.
French police also hope a mini spy-in-the-sky drone the size of a toy glider will help them track rioters and fight crime.
The police's ELSA device, a 1.2-metre (4-foot) long vehicle powered by two electric motors and equipped with day-and-night vision cameras, is due to begin full operational testing next year.
The recent gang clashes have revived memories of the weeks-long riots in French suburbs in 2005, and violent student protests in Paris last year.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, a law-and-order hardliner, won criticism and praise for his tough handling of the suburban riots in 2005, when he was interior minister under a previous conservative government.
Figure: Remote presence medical robots are seen in action. Sorry ladies, no George Clooney or Patrick Dempsey models are forthcoming.Photograph by:QEII HalifaxInfirmary
Charles Mandel , CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2007
HALIFAX - The future of medicine took shape Wednesday in an isolated Cape Breton hospital, where a robot carried out a diagnosis of a patient.
Using the remote presence robot - a boxy unit with a screen showing the physician's face - a doctor in Halifax examined a patient five hours away at Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
Cape Breton is believed to be the first place in Canada to have the robot, thanks to a wealthy donor who believed the isolated region should have the technology. The RP-7 robots are in use in a number of hospitals in the United States.
Remote presence medical robots are seen in action. Sorry ladies, no George Clooney or Patrick Dempsey models are forthcoming.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Remote presence medical robots are seen in action. Sorry ladies, no George Clooney or Patrick Dempsey models are forthcoming.
Joseph Shannon, 67, donated $400,000 to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre Foundation so they could purchase the robot from a California company, In touch Technologies Inc. (and which had further modifications made to it in Halifax).
"One thing led to another and we decided we wanted to buy a robot for Cape Breton, said Shannon, who owns a transportation company.
Shannon said the robot will put Cape Breton Regional Hospital on the map and will make it easier for the facility to attract doctors who want to work with such advanced technology for consultations with specialists in other cities and other applications.
"I think in the long-term if they develop it properly, there will be a fairly significant economic impact for the region."
Ivar Mendez, the Halifax-based head of neurosurgery at QEII and of the medical facility's brain repair centre, operated the robot at Wednesday's demonstration. He said patients quickly become comfortable speaking with the robot and forget it's a piece of technology examining them.
"I strongly believe this technology is part of the future of medicine. It will bring the expert to the patient anywhere in the country," Mendez said.
Robots will not replace physicians, Mendez said. Rather, the neurosurgeon said they help provide universal health care to Canadians, ensuring that even individuals in remote communities will have access to specialized care.
The robot comes equipped with a powerful lens that sees better than a human eye and the technology can hold a patient's electronic records and tests and access them immediately. A doctor using a laptop and an Internet connection operates the machine.
It's not the first time QEII has used robotics. In 2002, the hospital used a $500,000 system in Halifax known as Socrates Robotic Tele-Collaboration to power a robotic arm to perform brain surgery on a patient a province away in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
For DownLoad this player pleast Click Here.
Orca is an open-source framework for developing component-based robotic systems. It provides the means for defining and developing the building-blocks which can be pieced together to form arbitrarily complex robotic systems, from single vehicles to distributed sensor networks.
Our main goal is the continuing progress in robotic research and the robotic industry. The main challenge we see at present is the software specific to robots, both its complexity and the sheer amount of it. Software reuse promises a solution to both of these problems. You write your component which does something useful, then I build on your success by writing my component which works with yours. Now the two of us have a system of two components. Easy!
Where to start
* Read general information about the project: Orca Overview
* Get set up: Download and Install Orca
* Start running components: Quick-Start Guide
* Read an overview of Ice middleware: Ch. 2 of the Ice Manual [download]
* See a list of all available Orca components: Software Map
* Start coding: Guide to Beginning Development (read this if you want to evaluate Orca)
* Become an expert: Developer's Guide
Note: The documentation on this web page matches the latest release. A web page is also generated every 30 min from the latest CVS version.
For mor details about ORCA2.
Free Software tools for robot and sensor applications
Player is a network server for robot control. Running on your robot, Player provides a clean and simple interface to the robot's sensors and actuators over the IP network. Your client program talks to Player over a TCP socket, reading data from sensors, writing commmands to actuators, and configuring devices on the fly.
Player supports a variety of robot hardware. The original Player platform is the ActivMedia Pioneer 2 family, but several other robots and many common sensors are supported. Player's modular architecture makes it easy to add support for new hardware, and an active user/developer community contributes new drivers.
Player runs on Linux (PC and embedded), Solaris and *BSD.
More info about Player and Stage.
A great value for a professional 4- channel DVR system. This digital video recorder offers features found only high-end models at an affordable price. Included 120Gb HHD offers up to 7 months continuous recording! Upgradeable up to 1000Gb. (1Tb) Unique features include remote control and audio inputs. Easy to set up internet remote viewing function.
# Network Ready
# 4 Channel Video
# 4 Channel Audio
# 30 fps Recording Rate
# 120 fps Display Rate
# 640 X 224 High Resolution Setting
# Motion Activation
# MPEG4 Compression Format
# Easy to Read Instruction Manual
For more info. ple visit at Camera World and Hardware World.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
We all know security gets a little heavy eyed when the wee hours of the morning roll around, and we highly doubt the janitorial staff is humming along at maximum efficiency when the residents are snoozing away, so implementing a robot to tackle both tasks seems quite practical. The IWARD project hopes to develop a "nursebot" that wears several hats, and can handle cleaning up spills, utilizing face and voice recognition technology to "communicate with patients and spot unauthorized visitors," and even working in "swarms" to distribute tasks between the robotic crew. Researchers are aiming to have a three bot prototype ready to rock by 2010, and want to integrate sensors and camera to avoid collisions whilst "traveling along high-speed lanes in the hospital corridors." Better steer grandma's wheelchair clear of the robotic raceway, eh?
More INFo..Please click here.
The EU-funded project, known as IWARD, will be co-ordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and involve collaboration between European academic institutions, including the universities of Cardiff, Dublin and Newcastle.
Project leader Thomas Schlegel, from Fraunhofer's human-computer interaction division, says the robots could also help hospitals cut MRSA infections on wards by keeping them cleaner.
Each will consist of a basic platform on to which a module of sensors and equipment for different tasks would be mounted. This is being developed at Newcastle University. For example, a robot would be fitted with a laser thermometer to allow it to remotely monitor a patient's temperature, or fitted with cleaning equipment to mop up spills. They will communicate with each other and co-ordinate tasks when appropriate.
While the hardware and modules will use off-the-shelf technology as much as possible, the swarm-based intelligence will demand ground-breaking work, according to Schlegel. Fraunhofer is working with Warwick University to develop this innovative software platform to allow the robots to operate semi-autonomously.
'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,' said Schlegel. '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.'
Schlegel envisages the robots will be used for a wide range of tasks. One would be to guide people around the hospital. A visitor could tell a fixed information terminal the name of a patient he wanted to visit and a robot would lead him to their bedside. If the nearest robot was not sure of the patient's location it could communicate with others in the area to see if they could help.
Each robot will be fitted with a suite of sensors allowing it to move around the hospital, using proximity sensors to avoid collisions and inbuilt cameras to explore its environment. One robot will be able to warn another if its cameras see a collision is likely. High-speed lanes to allow the robots to move around quickly could also be installed.
Information will be passed between the robots using a wireless LAN or technology such as Bluetooth but they will also be able to use other forms of communication including infrared lasers.
The robots will communicate with patients, pass messages or perform basic tasks. 'The human-robot interaction will be tricky as the robots will have to be able to deal with people with different injuries and disabilities as well as the elderly and seriously ill patients,' admits Schlegel.
Facial recognition technologies will be employed, so the robots could spot if any unauthorised person had entered their ward.
Schlegel said: 'IWARD will mean that hospital staff will be able to spend more time with their patients rather than doing these other basic tasks.'
By the end of the three-year project, which began this month, the team hopes to have developed a three-robot prototype system.
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Monday, August 20, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
It looks like New York City will soon be seeing a slew of new ever-watchful eyes, as The New York Times reports that the city is set to get a London-style "surveillance veil" that would eventually consist of thousands of cameras monitoring vehicles and individuals alike. Dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, the system will initially include more than 100 cameras that are expected to be in place by the end of this year, each of which will be able to read license plates and send out alerts is suspect vehicles are detected. That appears to just be the tip of the iceberg, however, with some 3,000 public and privately-owned cameras set to be put into service by the end of 2008, along with a series of pivoting gates that'll be installed at critical intersections, giving authorities the ability to block off traffic at the push of a button. From there it'll apparently grow even further, with the entire operation expected to be up and running by 2010. No word on head-mounted cams as of yet though.
Tags: cctv, new york, new york city, NewYork, NewYorkCity, nyc, surveillance cameras, SurveillanceCameras
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
For more info. --->
About Open Computer Vision Library
The Open Computer Vision Library is a collection of algorithms and sample code for various computer vision problems. The library is compatible with IPL and utilizes Intel Integrated Performance Primitives for better performance.
For More Info. ----> Software Downloads
DevBot Core is our development platform written in C for creating mobile robot applications. It provides a clean and elegant architecture for robotic actuators and sensors such as infra-red and touch sensors or more sophisticated devices such as scanning range-finders. Integrated is support for network and wireless communication of multiple robots, distributed controller architecture on several processors and a backend to the DevBot Simulator. DevBot Core allows you to forget about the details of device access and data representation through providing interface categories, a selection of which is shown on the left.
Building upon the DevBot platform is simple and intuitive. Edinburgh Robotics' aim is to provide an interface to robot programming that is easily accessible and provides sufficient flexibility necessary in future appliances. DevBot is built around a highly modular core, using open-source components and providing open interfaces. This offers developers unprecedented flexibility to extend the system and integrate it with existing software.
Our platform integrates naturally with the leading open-source development environment eclipse which is comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle.
Here are example screenshots of eclipse working with DevBot:
More Info. --->SENSORS
Sunday, June 3, 2007
The CSC-TSR, a fast, robust color image evaluation system for the detection of traffic signs on European highways, is installed in a driving car. The realtime ability is achieved with parallel implementation on a TIP-system (Parsytec Transputer Image Processing) with PowerPC processors (Motorola MPC).More Info.
National Instruments has been a leader in machine vision and image processing for nearly a decade. NI vision software is available in two packages – the NI Vision Development Module and NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection (AI). The Vision Development Module contains hundreds of vision functions to use with National Instruments LabVIEW, NI LabWindows/CVI, C/C++, or Visual Basic to program powerful vision inspection, alignment, identification, and measurement applications. Vision Builder AI is an interactive software environment for configures, benchmarking and deploying machine vision applications without programming. Both software packages work with all NI vision frame grabbers and the NI Compact Vision System. The following 10 topics outline the important points to consider when choosing vision software.
Table of Contents
The OMA-P1104 provides cost effective monitoring and control of environmental and security conditions in industrial, office and residential locations. The OMA-P1104 desktop system has 4 input channels. Each input may be configured for either temperature measurement or contact closure sensing. The OMA-P1104 monitors ac power, temperature, high sound level (i.e., smoke/fire alarms), plus digital inputs for hook-up to switch closure sensors.
When an alarm condition occurs, the unit will automatically dial userprogrammed phone numbers to deliver the alarm message, in English. It continues to call until the alert message is properly acknowledged. You can call the unit for a complete status report on monitored conditions. The unit also provides a live ‘listen in’ feature to monitor actual sounds on-site.Click for more info.
The migration of technology to the digital world has increased the types of digital applications. Digital I/O applications include monitoring and control applications, video testing, chip verification, and pattern recognition. Just as there are many types of digital I/O applications, there are many different types of digital I/O data acquisition devices that can be used.
The type of digital I/O device required for your application will depend on how data needs to be transferred between the DAQ device and the external (peripheral) device. Data transfers can be broken into two main categories -- static (nonlatched) and block (latched) transfers. Latched data transfers can be further subdivided into two categories -two-way handshaking and pattern generation. Two-way handshaking can also be broken into two subcategories -synchronous and asynchronous. This application note explains these transfer modes in some detail. More about this topic-Click here.
The IR-AH series is non-contact handheld type digital radiation thermometers for the measurement of temperature. The thermometers have features of a wide measuring range from -50°C to 3000°C, digital displays of the measured value in the finder and on the panel board, and storing function of the measured data. An RS-232C port is provided to transmit the measured data to a personal computer. With a Data Logging Software (sold separately) , you can analysis and manage the measured data.
| Data storage|
Maximum 1000 data can be stored. The data stored are readable on the display with index numbers for easy classification of data.
|Easy-to-read internal and external digital display |
A measured value is digitally displayed in the finder and on the panel board.
|RS-232C port |
The communications interface port (RS-232C) is provided to transmit the measured data to a personal computer.
|Signal modulation |
Measurement modes of real value (real) maximum value (peak), average value (delay) and minimum value (valley) are selectable for measuring purposes.
|Data logging software |
The data logging software is separately prepared for the analysis and management of the measured data.
|Analog output (option) |
The analog output of 0 to 1VDC is offered at an optional specification. By using an AC power adapter (option), the continuous measurement enabled.
|Other functions |
Various functions including high/low alarms, °C/°F selection, auto-power-off, battery check and user's calibration (zero/span) are available.
All models are complying with CE.
|For more info. please Click Here.|
Product Line: Multifunction DAQ
Platform(s): Windows 2000; Windows Vista x64; Windows Vista x86; Windows XP
NI-DAQmx for PC Compatibles, version 8.5 for Windows Vista x64 (64-bit) / Vista x86 (32-bit) / XP / 2000NI-DAQmx 8.5 is the latest measurement services software for your data acquisition and signal conditioning devices.
For more info please Click here.
A plurality of miniature IR sensors disposed in a sensor array are aimed at a target area of interest, the array providing a thermal "image" of the target area. Processing electronics detect the hottest spot of the target as indicated by sensors in the array to directly indicate or estimate the hottest temperature(s) of the target area. Preferably, the sensor array can be utilized, for example, to determine the core body temperature of a patient by examination of the tympanic membrane. For more details please visit Full Content.
Click here to watch a presentation on Lab VIEW Signal Express.
The National Instruments PCI-1426 and NI PCIe-1427 are low-cost Camera Link image acquisition boards designed for machine vision and scientific imaging applications that require high-resolution digital imaging with simple cabling. Both boards work with any base-configuration Camera Link camera and include a simple 15-pin D-Sub connector for camera triggering and system integration. A list of applicable Camera Link cameras can be found on the Camera Advisor.
National Instruments and LEGO, in sharing a vision of inspiring creativity and innovation in children, have partnered to develop the next generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS - programmable robots that are smarter, stronger, and more intuitive than ever. This presentation will serve as an introduction to the technologies involved, and help you to learn more about this exciting advance in robotics.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The GL200 midi data logger accepts voltage, temperature, humidity, pulse and logic signals. The sensors are connected via rear mounted screw terminals. WIth its channel-to-channel isolation, wiring errors or overloaded channels will not affect neighbouring channels. Its built-in 3.5MB non-volatile memory retains data even if the power supply is interrupted. The included software provides real-time waveform monitoring, data upload and data export to spreadsheets.
Included With Each Midi Logger 1. OPS022 Software 2. 100 to 240 Volt (50/60 Hz) AC Adapter
Optional Accessories Available1. 6 Hour Battery Pack (#B-517)2. DC Drive Cable (#B-514)3. USB 1.1 Memory Stick for additional 1GB of data storage .
Robots are an important part of the modern manufacturing industry. Automation removes human exposure to dangerous working conditions and it can make production much more efficient.
Many robot users adopt a "fix it when it breaks" approach to maintenance. Repair work is only carried out when the robot fails and causes an unexpected and costly interruption in production. The ROBCOM (Robot Condition Monitoring) project team decided to develop an integrated on-line and off-line expert system to monitor the condition and evaluate the performance of industrial robots. This system can detect and classify incipient failures or decalibration trends of the robot before any major problems occur. As a result, production time lost through robot maintenance is minimised.
Which faults to monitor?
With their list of errors, the partners selected sensors that would be able to make the appropriate measurements. These included measuring vibrations, the power consumption and speed of the robot motors and the robot's end-point position.
Besides detecting deviations from normal robot behaviour, the new system should also be able to trace back to the cause of the anomaly. To be able to do this on-line, it is necessary to incorporate a lot of sensors and this raises the cost, as well as decreasing the possibilities to apply the system in industry. The chosen system allows the user to perform on-line monitoring with a limited number of sensors. When defects are detected, the system will suggest some new, sometimes off-line measurements.
Tapping the potential of new technology
"The know-how and the experience gained through this project showed that the approach is promising and that it is general enough to be applied on different robots and even on different machinery when it is correctly tuned," says Hendrik Van Brussel, the project's coordinator. In general, the systems, with easy-to-use menu structures to guide users through the mathematical toolbox, will be applied to enhance quality control in industry - mainly the automotive sector.
Everyone's a winner
Data Analysis Products, a Belgian consultancy, are applying the know-how they gained to serve their customers. This will help communicate the results to industry. Depending on the feedback they receive, they will sell the system of the further developed product. The industrial partner, Reis, is improving their in-house quality assurance and giving their clients better information about their products.
Partners from the research community, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and CIM Centrum Delft, will also continue their work. The former is pushing the results forward into the field through networks and other projects. They will also form the basis of future PhD and Master degree theses and make an appearance in lecture courses. The latter also plans to teach some of the results in its courses and will complete follow-up work in new research.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Explore the dangerous terrain of your home or office with the SRV-1 Mobile Robot. This palm sized bot packs tank-like treads, a 32-bit ARM processor and a mini video camera. The included wireless transmitter interfaces via USB with any PC up to 300 feet away. The Java based host software supports Windows, Mac or Linux OS and features a built-in web server to monitor and control the SRV-1 Robot with a web browser anywhere in the world. Live video from the robot updates at a few frames per second and runs at resolutions of up to 320 x 240. The built in proximity sensors can be toggled on or off to assist when driving the robot manually. An autonomous roving mode allows the SRV-1 to explore independently while avoiding obstacles. Video surveillance recording can be scheduled based on time or date and saved as an AVI video file. Built in web based user-management controls who has access to pilot the robot or change settings. Multiple users can watch the live video feed from the robot without having access to control it. The included software is completely open source on both the host computer end and the robot firmware. Budding programmers can exploit some other nifty features of the robot such as visual object tracking.
The SRV-1 Mobile Robot comes fully assembled and ready to use, but requires some basic technical knowledge of Java and the command line to set-up the software. If you feel comfortable tinkering and have had experience configuring a basic web server you should be in fine shape.
For more info please visit at SRV
and More Info
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
In general, robotic surgery systems are designed to offer surgeons additional precision and control in complex minimally invasive procedures.
The da Vinci™ Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical, Inc., incorporates advancements in robotic and computer technology.
Minimally invasive surgical procedures are performed through small rather than large incisions and minimize trauma to tissue, muscles and vessels. Patient benefits are less blood loss, less scarring and faster recovery times.
Robotic systems like the da Vinci™ Surgical System enhance minimally invasive techniques in complex procedures. The da Vinci™ system allows the surgeon to view the surgical site in three-dimensions with 10 times magnification. Three surgical arms provide articulated movement that replicates the movement of the surgeon. (Click here to view video on Robotic Surgery)
Robotic assisted minimally invasive surgery may benefit patients as follows:
* Smaller incisions
* Reduced pain and trauma to the body
* Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
* Less risk of infection
* Shorter hospital stays
* Faster recovery and return to work
* Less scarring
For More Detais Please visit at:
Robotics used in Hospital
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Shawnee Mission Medical Center will host its third live surgical Webcast on Thursday, November 2, at 7 p.m., when urologist David Emmott, MD, performs a robot-assisted radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci™ Surgical System.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center was the first hospital in the region to perform radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci™ in 2002. Since that time, Emmott and his partner, Scott Montgomery, MD, have performed more than 200 procedures -- more than any other physicians in the area.
During the surgery, the entire prostate gland and additional surrounding tissue will be removed through minimally invasive "keyhole" incisions -- allowing the patient to experience decreased bleeding, less time in the hospital and reduced scarring. Traditionally, radical prostatectomy procedures are performed through large incisions, which often resulted in lengthy and uncomfortable patient recovery.
The da Vinci™ Surgical System consists of two main components, the surgeon's viewing and control console and the surgical arm that positions and maneuvers the surgical instruments. ( More Videos and News )
IWARD targets mainly hospitals and healthcare centres to overcome the shortages of healthcare staff – a major issue in European healthcare. Our aging society and economic pressure increase the patients-to-medics’ ratio, having an adverse effect on healthcare quality and performance. Not being able to attend all patients at the right time and not keeping the hospitals clean enough (e.g.MRSA Transmission) also increases recovery time and cost.
To improve the quality of healthcare, these focal issues emerge: fast identification and location of patients needing immediate attention; reduction of human errors; effective cleaning in hospitals; wider reach of specialist medics, possibly attending patients remotely. To achieve this, IWARD presents a robot swarm delivering support to oversee activities in healthcare environments,providing a multipurpose, cost-effective and scalable solution to enhance quality of healthcare.
Four major tasks are: attendance, recognition, communication and suppor(assisting/cleaning).
Attendance means to monitor hospital wards by robots acting as a dynamic swarm. Recognition points out, that the swarm is able to recognize patients or objects needing attention, providing immediate information about the location and needs of the concerned patients. The robots can be equipped with different adaptable hardware components for floor cleaning and delivery of food,linen, medicine etc. All mobile robots are capable of providing patients and visitors with guidance and information. It provides easy to use but high tech interaction interfaces like voice control
through mobile and fix-mounted robots.
The swarm based approach unburdens the nursing staff from the details of robot control and central coordination – reducing the complexity of robot control to that of a chat, having the swarm negotiating which robot to use for each job, shortening the reaction time, reducing human error and increasing efficiency to deliver better patient care.
Researchers are working on the creation of robotic ward assistants to cope with staff shortages
Experts from universities in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Turkey are working on a multi-million pound research project to cure the ever-increasing problem of hospital staff shortages.
The project, dubbed IWARD, kicked off at the beginning of this month and, if all goes well could potentially see these robotic nurses and other clinical assistants milling about in hospitals and healthcare centres as early as 2010.
Having secured £1.8 million (€2.7 million) in European Union (EU) funding, the consortium of institutions, which includes Cardiff, Dublin, Newcastle and Warwick in the UK, aim to create a 'robot swarm' to help attend to patients' needs more quickly and effectively as well as reducing costs and ensuring cleanliness to minimise the likelihood of Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission.
"IWARD will mean that hospital staff will be able to spend more time with their patients rather than doing other basic tasks," project leader Thomas Schlegel, from the human-computer interaction division at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, said in an interview with The Engineer.
"The idea is not only to have mobile robots, but a full system of integrated information terminals so that 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."
The robo nurses will be capable or identifying people or things in need of attention and attending to those patients or items. By equipping the robots with different adaptable hardware components, they will also be able to perform a wide range of other tasks such as floor cleaning and delivery of food, linen and medicine.
A suite of inbuilt cameras and sensors will ensure the robots can navigate their way around buildings as well as avoiding collision with fellow robots and other objects.
If a collision with an electronic counterpart is imminent, the robots will be able to warn one another using wireless technology such as Bluetooth.
The aim is to have three working prototype robots by the end of the three-year project.
An inventor plays a duet with his robotic creation, Wabot-2, at the Tokyo Exposition. Building this kind of robot is a challenging task because the dexterity of the human hand is perhaps the most difficult function to recreate mechanically. Although Wabot-2’s performance may not be emotional, with an electronic scanning eye and quality components, the technical accuracy will be extremely high.
Michael Macintyre/Hutchison Library
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Robot; Invention (device or process)
Helpmate is a robot that independently navigates through hospital corridors, delivering meal trays, paperwork, and supplies. The robot employs multiple sensors to safely navigate and work in close proximity to people.
Hank Morgan/Science Source/Photo Researchers, Inc.
Appears in these articles:
There is always plenty to do in a hospital, and more often than not, the staff is overworked. “This is where robots can be a real help,” explains IAO scientist Thomas Schlegel, who is coordinating the new EU project IWARD. The abbreviation stands for ‘intelligent robot swarm for attendance, recognition, cleaning and delivery’. “These robots could take over a wide range of tasks: find the doctor, call the nurse, keep the sick-room clean, and show visitors the way. What is more, the mobile assistants can also tell when help is needed in a sick-room, for instance when a patient has suffered a fall. Then they can alert a nurse or an orderly.”
Ten teams of researchers from Germany and seven other countries will collaborate on this project. They all met on Wednesday for the official project launch in Stuttgart. Over the next three years they plan to cooperate in developing a team of robots to support hospital staff. At the end of that period, the little fleet will be tested in hospitals. “What’s really new about these robots is their decentralized intelligence: Each one can act autonomously, but is also constantly in touch with its ‘colleagues’. This creates a swarm with abilities that far exceed those of each individual member,” explains Schlegel.
First example: Supposing robot number one is crossing a corridor and sees an orderly heading for a room that robot number two happens to be cleaning. In this case robot 1 can pass the information to robot 2, which can quickly retreat into a corner to make room for the orderly. Second example: Robot number one is in a cardiac patient’s room. The nurse urgently needs to consult a cardiologist. She can use the robot to broadcast a search message that is received by all members of the squad. As soon as a member of the swarm has found the doctor, it sets up a video conference with robot 1. In this way, the cardiologist is immediately put in touch with the sick-room where his advice is needed.
The robots are to be made as small and versatile as possible, ideally measuring not more than 50 by 50 by 50 centimeters. They will be equipped with a motor and wheels, an on-board computer, a radio module, optical sensors, loudspeakers, a monitor, and cleaning tools for wiping up spills and disinfecting. “All of these components already exist. The important thing for us is not having new hardware, but advancing the development of swarm intelligence,” Schlegel declares. “Our goal is to develop a program that is both powerful and extremely flexible. For example, the robots need to recognize when they are approaching sensitive equipment such as a CT scanner. They must not transmit radio signals there, as these would interfere with the imaging system. The robots can only operate autonomously in such places. Not until they have left the sensitive zones can they re-establish contact with the swarm via WLAN or Bluetooth.”
In the test phase at the end of the project, three or four robots will be sent for practical testing to each of four different hospitals – and so for a few weeks, the swarm will support hospital staff in England, Spain, France and Turkey. Initially, the robots’ duties will be restricted to cleaning and communications. In the long run, however, their decentralized intelligence holds much greater potential, says Schlegel: “Hospital processes are organized centrally at present, but decentralized data administration is perfectly feasible – be it for assignment of beds, for purchasing logistics, for planning the use of operating theaters, or for providing visitor information. Another of our goals in the EU project will be to find out how efficient the system is, and what new opportunities it opens up.”
Although the hospital robots have been described in the press as ‘robotic nurses’, the definition is slightly misleading because the purpose of these robots is not to replace nurses but to help them so that they can spend more time with patients.
Each robot will contain a mobile, self-navigating platform and several modules attached to it to perform the following major tasks:
1. Guidance and assistance: patients and visitors will be provided information about the location of units and wards in the hospital. They can follow the moving robot to their destination. For example, a patient can be guided to the X-ray room, or a visitor to a patient’s ward. The speed of the robot can be adjusted automatically according to the pace of the person. Guidance between floors and/or buildings can be negotiated between several robots. The built-in information system will also allow to get general information (doctors’ names, locations, timetables, services) of the hospital.
2. Delivery: the robots can deliver medical supplies and other materials to patients lying in bed, and medical documentation (X-rays, patients’ files) to doctors and nurses. Each compartment will be equipped with a security device so that only the appropriate persons will have access to them. Authorised access to the content of the compartments will be guaranteed through face and voice recognition.
3. Cleaning: a floor cleaning device, attached to the robot base, will perform continuous cleaning while the robot is moving. This will allow to maintain a high level of hygiene in the hospital. It will also facilitate fast clean-up of spillages.
4. Condition monitoring: sensors attached to the robot will give up-to-date information about the conditions in the hospital (temperature, humidity). The camera system, coupled with image recognition software, can detect unusual situations (patients lying on the floor, objects obstructing corridors). It is also possible to obtain information about the patients’ condition (like body temperature) using remote measurements. The camera-equipped robot can also deliver compressed pictures and video information of patients that can be used to evaluate their condition. This could especially be useful during the night when supervision level is normally limited. The data can also be fed to the information management and retrieval system that would enable the collection of anonymous information about patients’ habits.
5. Surveillance: the moving robots, equipped with a camera and microphone gives an ideal opportunity to provide information for the security system of the hospital. Face recognition and person-tracking systems will be used to improve the hospital security. Areas that can not be reached by the robots will be monitored by stationary cameras. The system can also facilitate to obtain information about patients’ whereabouts.
In order to minimise the cost of such a system and to make it affordable to hospitals, the robot swarm will heavily rely on low-cost standard components and plug-and-play sensors. As opposed to the large individual robots that are currently available in some hospitals, the robot swarm will be based on smaller robots. This should cause less interference with persons and objects in the hospital. Using a quick-fix mechanism, any modules and sensors can easily be mounted on the base at any time.
Users will be able to communicate with the robot system through a specially designed human-robot interface that includes speech, voice and face recognition. In order to maintain a safe interaction between humans and robots, all robots will be equipped with safety devices. The users are not expected to programme the robots; they will only give them high-level, task-oriented commands. Access authorisation will be managed by the robot software.
The mobile robot platform will be able to perform self-navigation in the hospital using vision sensors and a detailed hospital model. The self-learning capabilities of the robots will enable quick and reliable adaptation to a changing environment.
There will be no central computer in the system. Instead, the robots will be equipped with a level of intelligence to negotiate and schedule tasks between themselves dynamically; the robot swarm is a self-organising system. The robots themselves decide which of them is most suitable to perform a given task at a given time. There will be wireless communication between the robots. The interchangeable robot modules can be attached to the robot bases based on demand. Artificial intelligence learning mechanisms will support all robot functions.
The main task of the DCU team is to develop the robot modules that will be attached to the mobile robot base. Each module will be a stand-alone, self-contained unit. Researchers at the other partner institutions will develop the robot base and its control system, the human-robot interface, the software platform and the swarm application software.
The prototype of the system, containing several robots and a realistic hospital model, should be developed by the end of 2009. It will first be analysed in a laboratory set-up, after which it can be tested in real hospital environment. It is hoped that this robot swarm system will contribute to better patient care in hospitals.
More information can be found on the web page of the project at IWARD.