Picture this scenario for a moment if you will. You’ve been doing your best to stay at home and exercise social distancing protocols, but despite your best efforts you began coughing and wheezing and now you’ve got a fever. Calling your doctor, you’re advised to head down to the local hospital’s emergency intake area for testing. You arrive as instructed and drag yourself through the door and in a few moments you are greeted by… one of those incredibly creepy robot “Spot” dogs from Boston Dynamics. And the robot begins asking you about your symptoms and produces a thermometer.
If you happen to live in the Boston area, you might not just have to imagine this scenario. One of the local hospitals there is already using the artificially intelligent robot dog. Spot isn’t doing the diagnosing, thankfully. There’s a tablet mounted on its head where you can video chat with the doctor who is ready to evaluate you. This measure has been taken more to keep the doctors and nurses safe than the patients. (NPR)
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has been testing a new piece hardware to help them treat coronavirus cases – a robot called Spot.
Last week, the hospital began using the robot in interviewing some of the least serious cases of patients suspected of having the coronavirus. It’s only been deployed a handful of times so far, but according to Dr. Peter Chai, an emergency medical physician at Brigham and Women’s, the hope is that using Spot could limit staff exposure to COVID-19.
“It also eliminates PPE,” said Dr. Chai in an interview. “Spot doesn’t need to wear a mask or gown.”