Will you be amazed or scared if you see robots walking along the corridors during your hospital stay? Or a robot nurse taking care of you? ROBOTS SEEM SO far away. We’re so many years from simple machines that wash your dishes, collect and fold your clothes, and deliver your foods. But the reality is the robots have arrived—you’re just not noticing them.
What is a TUG?
A TUG is an autonomous mobile robot designed exclusively for hospitals by Aethon, a Pittsburgh-based company. It navigates hospital corridors using a built-in map and sensors and also connects with elevators, fire alarms, and automated doors through Wi-Fi. It drives similarly to a robocar, utilizing lasers to detect and avoid obstructions.
When not in use, the robots return to their respective charging stations to recharge before the next task.
TUG by Aethon Changes Health Care
In hospitals throughout the world, this Aethon mobile robot assists nurses and physicians in caring for patients by autonomously delivering meals and medications, relieving staff of time-consuming details and allowing them to focus more on patient care. It increases employee satisfaction, safety, productivity, and more.
What does TUG can do?
The TUG was created with nurses in mind. TUG alerts nurses when medications, food, supplies, and tests are on their way. No more chasing to room-to-room. No more phone calls. As a result, work satisfaction is better, and there is more time for patient care.
TUG distributes medications in a safe manner across the hospital and straight to nursing units. It secures and automates deliveries that would otherwise be done by pneumatic tubes or human couriers, including restricted chemicals. For secure deliveries such as drugs and specimens, medical staff will use fingerprint recognition to open and seal the TUGs’ safe compartment.
TUG eliminates the headaches and restrictions associated with pneumatic tube systems. Best of all, by using biometric security and unique pin codes, TUG ensures only authorized medical personnel add or remove specimens to the secured cabinet.
TUG delivers meals to patient floors in an automated, cost-effective manner and returns soiled trays to Food Service. Staff may spend more time monitoring nutritional needs and engaging with patients thanks to TUG.
TUG safely provides scheduled and on-demand delivery of linens to nursing units. Housekeeping staff don’t have to leave the unit for linen supplies, because TUG delivers wherever the supplies are needed.
TUG is a more secure and efficient method of waste disposal. The technology also interfaces with automatic dumping equipment, allowing the cart to empty without the help of an employee, which is especially beneficial after hours.
This is an exciting new frontier in human-robot interaction. The robotic revolution is about getting robots to adapt to humans as much as it is about humans adapting to robots.
TUG is remarkably intelligent, navigating a human environment with ease. However, this does not necessarily imply that it relieves humans. Hospital managers require all the assistance they can get, but can they put their trust in a robot to work alongside physicians and nurses?
TUG isn’t the only one who’s dominating the planet. Autonomous machines, whether companion robots or robots that assist us in our tasks, are progressively influencing our lives. Getting along with them also demands adjusting to a new type of interaction that humans will create with what is effectively an artificial species.
Mobile robots for healthcare – pharmacy, laboratory, nutrition and EVS. (2018). Retrieved from Aethon website: https://aethon.com/mobile-robots-for-healthcare/