Archives for category: telepresence

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For those that have not heard of Robots for Humanity , it is a site dedicated to finding technology that allows those who are disabled to better interact with the world. Started by Henry Evans, who suffered a severe stroke that left him quadriplegic, the site features different contributors with technologies that assist and enable various activities that are otherwise difficult or near impossible for those with physical limitations.

One of these activities featured on this site is traveling. As an able bodied person, we take for granted that any new site we visit will be easy for us to negotiate, it is not so for those with disabilities. Either the travel itself, or inability of buildings to accomodate those with disabilities often makes it unreasonable for a disabled person to travel. To address this, Henry’s site features museums that allow a person to visit from their own home through a telepresence device.

In this case the telepresence robot featured is the Suitable BeamPro, a drivable Smart Presence Device (SPD) which connects through wifi. Equipped with a dock, software client, and drivable SPD, this technology allows you to drive and communicate from any location. Driving at over 2 MPH, this device allows you to keep up with a moving subject, such as a museum guide.

The system is currently available for $1,995. See the video below for more information:

RP-7i Remote Presence Robot

As a physical therapist, being required to be physically present for your career can be both a burden and a relief. I can breathe a little easier (for now) knowing that my job probably won’t be outsourced any time soon, as it requires physical touch and presence. I also look forward to the day, however, when I am feeling under the weather, or when life’s circumstances keep me from going into work that I can still, at least partially, do my job from home.

Interestingly enough, there are now telepresence robots which allow doctors to advise patients by telecommuting. While this may be in the further future for PT’s,  There are 5 different models listed on the InTouch Health website.

These products are described as remote presence devices, they allow clinicians to interact with patients in real time. In life threatening situations, these can be vital in saving time so that a physician in a hospital can consult patients or support staff to guide treatment without wasting wait time. In less immediate situations, they can just add convenience to healthcare without patients losing work time with travel. Many people simply let medical conditions fester to the point of immediate concern because of the time and effort it takes to get to a medical appointment, and we could potentially save so much in healthcare costs by allowing people the gift of time and convenience to address medical concerns before they require increased tests and procedures.

I hope that as a PT I can soon provide consults to patients requiring less manual treatment and more instruction and guidance without the inconvenience and costs required to physically attend a medical appointment.

photo above: http://www.intouchhealth.com/images/rp-7i-big.png