Domo Arigato

By ERIN BALDASSARI  |  May 2, 2011

robotvecna480

VECNA


THE BOT
| QC Bot

THE INDUSTRY | Health care delivery

THE PROBLEM | Spiraling health care costs

THE SOLUTION | Robots take over hospital grunt work

LEARN MORE | vecna.com

While Vecna Technologies is widely known for its flagship product, the soldier-saving robot BEAR, its far more mundane-looking QC Bot has the modest goal of cutting costs in healthcare. The Artoo-sized bot can haul supplies, deliver medicine, take vital signs, and help patients check themselves in or out of the hospital. It also works as a telepresence bot, so that doctors don't have to sprint across a hospital campus to keep an eye on all their patients or consult with other doctors.

Unveiled at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibition in February of this year, the QC Bot promises to save time for nurses and doctors, allowing them to spend more time one-on-one with patients.

"The QC Bot is the culmination of a large number of research projects coming together to solve the problem of bringing a robot into a new environment without having to reprogram it for every task," says Vecna's Chief Technology Officer Daniel Theobald. "Up until now, robots needed specially trained operators to handle and reprogram them. Now, we're at the point where lay people can react to the robot in natural and comfortable ways." But, the true test of the QC Bot will be whether or not it delivers the cost-effective solutions it promises. "We believe that robots will only make sense if they make financial sense," Theobald says. "So the goal is to make it affordable." Theobald says Vecna had already shopped the idea to several of the larger hospitals in and around Boston.

"It's a nascent market," Theobald says. "There is essentially zero percent of hospitals using this type of technology now."

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