I personally think any story in which robots are involved is newsworthy. Maybe that’s because I’ve really always wanted to be a robot builder (I think that’s the technical name). At the same time, my generation (whatever that is) and Generation X before it think it’s hip to talk about and dress up like robots and pirates. I’m not really sure why; it may have to do with the techno/rave (robots) and punk (pirates) scenes.

Every once and a while I come across robots in healthcare news, and I can’t wait until it gets to the point where designers have to actually design healthcare facilities with robots in mind. Then I’ll have a legitimate excuse to write about robots: "Healing environments designed for patients, staff, families, and robots alike..."

Anyways, check out these two news items about robots in healthcare:

Robot Fetches Objects With Just a Point and a Click

A team of researchers led by Charlie Kemp, director of the Center for Healthcare Robotics in the Health Systems Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, have found a way to instruct a robot to find and deliver an item it may have never seen before using a more direct manner of communication—a laser pointer. El-E (pronounced like the name Ellie), a robot designed to help users with limited mobility with everyday tasks, autonomously moves to an item selected with a green laser pointer, picks up the item and then delivers it to the user, another person or a selected location such as a table. El-E, named for her ability to elevate her arm and for the arm’s resemblance to an elephant trunk, can grasp and deliver several types of household items including towels, pill bottles and telephones from floors or tables.

Actor-Robots 'Staff' Part of New $5M Simulation Training Center A medical student places a chest tube in a patient lying on an operating table, while another student conducts a colonoscopy. Everything is just as it would be in a real OR or treatment room, except that the patients won’t be harmed or complain if mistakes are made—they’re robots.

These high-tech, electronically outfitted mannequins are equipment in the new $5 million medical and surgical simulation training center at the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center in East Baltimore that opened in March.

The mannequins have breath sounds and heart tones, palpable pulses, and a monitor that displays vital signs as students, physicians, nurses and other health care professionals practice everything from bag-mask ventilation, intubation, and defibrillation to chest tube placement and endoscopies. Computer programs test decision making skills and knowledge on topics such as advanced cardiac life support and trauma management.