A Nice Gesture by Jeroen Arendsen

Various personal interests and public info, gesture, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Category: Healthcare

Item over Zora en andere robots in de zorg bij CampusTV Utrecht

Naar aanleiding van een grote proef met de Zora robot (eigenlijk NAO met wat extra programmering door een Belgisch bedrijfje) was er een item op CampusTV van de Hogeschool Utrecht over robots in de zorg.

Ik was uitgenodigd als expert om commentaar te geven over robots in de zorg.



Zie Campustalk 07 Winter 2015-2016 https://youtu.be/qd8txYpq9GM (actie vanaf 3:30). Het verhaal van de verzamel-expert is trouwens ook leuk (aan het eind).


Gesture Recognition in the Operating Room

In the news recently: Future Surgeons May Use Robotic Nurse, ‘Gesture Recognition’.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2011) — Surgeons of the future might use a system that recognizes hand gestures as commands to control a robotic scrub nurse or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation.

Purdue industrial engineering graduate student Mithun Jacob uses a prototype robotic scrub nurse with graduate student Yu-Ting Li. Researchers are developing a system that recognizes hand gestures to control the robot or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation. (Credit: Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

Purdue industrial engineering graduate student Mithun Jacob uses a prototype robotic scrub nurse with graduate student Yu-Ting Li. Researchers are developing a system that recognizes hand gestures to control the robot or tell a computer to display medical images of the patient during an operation. (Credit: Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

I have noticed similar projects earlier, where surgeons in the OR were target users of gesture recognition. The basic idea behind this niche application area for gesture recognition is fairly simple: A surgeon wants to control an increasing battery of technological systems and he does not want to touch them, because that would increase the chance of infections. So, he can either gesture or talk to the machines (or let other people control them).

In this case the surgeon is supposed to control a robotic nurse with gestures (see more about the robotic nurse here). You can also view a nice video about this story here; it is a main story of the latest Communications of the ACM.

Well, I have to say I am in doubt if this is a viable niche for gesture recognition. So far, speech recognition has been used with some succes to dictate operating reports during the procedure. I don’t know if it has been used to control computers in the OR. Frankly, it sounds a bit scary and also a bit slow. Gesture and speech recognition are known for their lack of reliability and speed. Compared to pressing a button, for example, they give more errors and time delays. Anything that is mission-critical during the operation should therefore not depend on gesture or speech control would be my opinion.

However, the real question is what the alternatives for gesture or speech control are and how reliable and fast those alternatives are.  For example, if the surgeon has to tell another human what to do with the computer, for example displaying a certain image, then this can also be unreliable (because of misinterpretations) and slow.

The article mentions several challenges: “… providing computers with the ability to understand the context in which gestures are made and to discriminate between intended gestures versus unintended gestures”. That sounds like they also run into problems with fidgeting or something similar that surgeons do.

In sum, it will be interesting to see if surgeons will be using gesture recognition in the future, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Vertigine della lista – another beauty

I came across the folowing, wonderful list of things:

Mobility aids: Manual wheelchairs; powered wheelchairs; electric 3- and 4-wheel scooters; attendant pushed wheelchairs; walkers/rollators; canes; stretchers to move patients; turntables; floor lifts; ceiling/fixed lifts; driving equipment to assist physically challenged to drive; vehicles equipped to carry wheelchairs, etc.; and vehicles equipped with baths.

Bed-related products: Beds, mattresses, pressure sore prevention products, side tables, and care related sheets.

Bathing products: Bathtubs, bath chairs, anti-slip products, bath boards and bathing lifts.

Toilet related and diapers: Portable toilets, toilets/toilet seats, deodorizers, germicides and diapers.

Aids for Daily Living: Chairs, positioning and standup aids, tables, furniture, eating utensils, table ware, kitchens, cooking aids, washbasins, clothing, shoes, clothes changing aids and care related products.

Communication Equipment: Hearing aids; emergency alarm and warning systems; word processors and computer systems for the disabled; Braille printers; aids to assist in data entry and operating OA equipment; software for the physically challenged; letter enlargement equipment; special telephones, faxes and portable talking aids; sight related systems; and other communication equipment.

Equipment for the Home & Construction: Slopes, handrails, elevators, ramps, stair climbers and other such equipment.

Rehabilitation Equipment & Prevention Products against nursing-care: Rehabilitation equipment for walking; training materials, devices and equipment for rehabilitation. Body function training equipment, muscular strength training machines, and oral care related products.

Artificial Limbs & Orthopedic products

Truly, another enchanting list worthy of inclusion in Umberto Eco’s marvellous collection of ‘lists’ in his 2009 book called ‘Vertigine della lista’ or ‘De betovering van lijsten’ (a book I got from my professor after receiving my PhD).

But, what is it a list of? I will leave it to your imagination 🙂

One CareBot ™ One Family

At my new workplace, TNO, we had a modest celebration today: Two robot projects in which we will be cooperating have been approved by the EC (three cheers for the authors of the proposals RL and MN!). One of those is concerned with robotics in healthcare, which brings me to the next video:

From Gecko Systems (check out more movies) comes this would-be personal robot nurse. The people in this movie appear slightly naïve in their childish enthusiasm but it’s nevertheless good to have such glimpses of the future. Who knows, perhaps you and I will be nursed by such machines? A thought I find somewhat disturbing, I must confess.

One family’s experience with a robot companion for their Mother.

Also on Robots-Dreams
Gecko about Consumer Familycare
Gecko about Professional Healthcare

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