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Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle?

timothy posted 1 year,5 days | from the with-pleasure-and-gusto dept.

Medicine 209

An anonymous reader writes "IEEE Spectrum has a story about a robot that uses infra red and ultrasound to image veins, picks the one with best bloodflow, and then sticks a needle in. (video included). Veebot started as an undergrad project and the creators are aiming for better performance than a human phlebotimist before going for clinical trials. Robodracula anyone?"

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209 comments

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Why yes, I would. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397537)

I'll always take a robot over a human when my safety is in question. I want a human involved, but predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

Re:Why yes, I would. (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397559)

predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

This is exactly backwards....a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm. If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

Therac-25 is an example of the dangers of improperly tested computers with lethal equipment.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1, Informative)

Isaac-1 (233099) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397599)

and repeatedly

Re:Why yes, I would. (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397601)

Therac-25 is an example of the dangers of improperly tested computers with lethal equipment.

The Therac-25 [wikipedia.org] was the result of layer after layer of utter incompetence. They assigned a programmer who wasn't qualified to write a javascript button-click handler, to write life-critical sofware. Then no one else even looked at his code. There was no design review, no QA or bug tracking, and very little testing. Even after the defect was reported, there was no review or followup, or realization that it could even be a software problem. But the problem went much deeper. The hardware design was just as defective. There were no interlocks, in either hardware or firmware, to prevent defective software from killing patients. Many books on mission critical embedded system design devote an entire chapter to all the stupid mistakes that made up the Therac-25. If you make a list of the rules of sane system design, the Therac-25 design will have violated nearly every one of them.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397637)

I've seen entire units in university courses that revolve around that one incident, it's literally become textbook.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398197)

I know computers didn't have much in resources, but wouldn't it make sense to record what happened from a sensor rather than trust what you attempted is correct?
Yes, it doesn't stop the problem, but a regular audit would show "hey. we cooked some patients with lethal radiation..."

Re:Why yes, I would. (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398797)

And the exact same thing could happen to any other completely mechanical device. Unless you wrote the software or were closely involved with the development process, you have no fucking clue as an end user of medical devices if its actually safe to use.

Yes, its an example of how to do it wrong, but you CAN NOT ignore the fact that IT HAPPENED.

The example is mentioned not to show how it can be done wrong, but that even in the highly regulated medical industry, where lives are ALWAYS on the line, it slipped right through with a completely improper design and inadequate testing, where as even a 15 year old would be more reliable at noticing the missing filter when reconfiguring the machine more often than the T-25 failed.

Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397677)

My veins had been destroyed so many times by nurses, I'd let the robot have his turn.

Re:Why yes, I would. (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397691)

a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm. If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

And a bit of thought to the mechanical design of the robot will prevent it ever having the physical capability to do that.

Which oddly enough, is how they've designed the robot in TFA....

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397771)

Somebody will manage to position their arm so the robot will jab all the way through.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397857)

Not if they have to get into a restraint that forces them to be oriented in a particular way.

Re:Why yes, I would. (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397899)

You'd have to pick a very special case - like a mentally impaired, combative patient for example. But then that's why staff with brains exist. You have to know who can get the machine, and who can't.

Re:Why yes, I would. (2)

DarkTempes (822722) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397815)

I'm fairly certain that you can make it mechanically impossible for this to happen in a needle jabbing machine.

And a human could have a seizure or something and jab the needle all the way through your arm.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397821)

Robotic awareness to external specific stimuli is significantly faster and what it can do (ie, move needle forward and back) is very simple action to perform. Human awareness is focused on surroundings on much larger scale and can fade when someone calls them etc. I can't help but to think of people as having very generic capabilities vs robotics as being specialized. The strength of a human being is in adaptability, but a robot can outperform a human in a controlled environment by a huge margin without errors.

Also, there is an underlying assumption that the needle will need to be as long as it is for common syringes. It probably can be short enough for this particular purpose such that robot couldn't push it very deeply through the hand even if it tried. It could even be mechanically limited to some guessed size by human operator that depends on how big the arm is etc.

Naturally, testing is required, but even 10 copies of equipment is sufficient to test enough to produce thousands of very secure and safe needle robots. What happened to Therac-25 is awful, but in this case we're talking about a tiny needle! It's like comparing dangers of testing a chainsaw to dangers of testing a screwdriver. The worst case scenario is breaking the needle inside an arm, but it would be something that is noticed immediately unlike in the case of Therac-25. So, automatic needle is quite safe because it is inherently not very dangerous regardless of operator.

Finally, I haven't taken many blood tests, but out of those two times a nurse couldn't find my vein after 5 minutes trying to poke with the needle and I started losing consciousness. Then again, I am still not afraid of nurse doing it either and human contact has psychologically soothing aspect. Still, I'd let a robot poke me with a needle. Especially if I had to do it tens of times.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398371)

if its for blood a cannula i think its called can be installed if you need it doing 10's of times. Worst I have had was with a study it gets very sore after a lot of tests if its a needle being repeatedly inserted without time to heal.

The third option which isn't mentioned is doing the injection yourself, quite often drugs do not need inserting in veins. I inject every week after having had a time when it was twice a day. its much less of a hassle.

The key thing is that we are not equally covered in nerve endings some parts of the body are actually painless to inject in to. So nurse or robot is stabbing in the dark when they inject you. you on the other hand can feel for your nerve endings you soon find a painless spot after a gentle probe in the area.

Apart from that there are pain numbing sprays and gels which can be used, medical staff seem reluctant to use them as it takes a little time for them to become effective. Personally I find a pretty nurse helps a lot, even thou it can hurt like hell you just don't want her to see you act like a wuss.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397833)

This is more a question of testing, implementation, and oversight then. We allow computers to fly and land airplanes with proper oversight and that is far riskier than a needle being used. The question you need to ask is if a computer with proper oversight and testing can do the job better than a human.

The types of errors made with humans and robots are different. The errors made by humans are more random and tougher to stamp out. Doctors today still give the wrong prescriptions, leave tools inside of patients during surgery, and amputate the wrong limbs. These types of errors can be reduced, but not eliminated, by having a second doctor review and agree with the actions being taken. Robots and computers have the benefit of being able to do labor intensive tasks rapidly and accurately. If a doctor orders the robot to cut off the left limb, the robot can object by saying that the medical file only says there is a problem with the right limb. And if a doctor orders a prescription that has a bad interaction with another prescription or medical condition, the computer can require an override command. Then again, the robot might have been programmed to mistake right for left or the computer to always prescribe strychnine*. But with oversight, that action would be stopped and the bug corrected.

And as far as Therac-25, it should be noted that doctors and engineers learned from that lesson. Computers haven't been taken out of radiation treatment because of that, despite how dire the effects were.

* I'm kidding, I'm kidding

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398421)

Theres quite a big difference between landing a plane which has a relatively large margin of error and trying to hit a precise spot on your arm. You can set up controls to ensure that the plane is going to land on the runway and not on the grass, but there wlll be differences in the location of that spot between people even between visits.

A robot on the other hand could deliver a precise dose quite easily allowing for vital signs body mass ect and get it spot on through a drip feed or other tube. Would you prefer the computer calculated dose or by the Dr who's been working 80 hours and was on call through the previous night?

 

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397849)

Not if the robot is programmed to account for such things. Easily done with various sensors and proper programming. There are a million things could cause a human to fuck up. I'll trust the robot, it's precise every single time.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398497)

Yes the robot is precise every single time to high definitions of precise, there is always some tolerance.

However what you are missing is that robots do things which are repeatable thousands of times. Conditions have to be met in order for the robot to proceed, Sequences must be followed in order for the operation to be carried out successfully.

There is a variable here which is difficult to measure and that is the variation in the human body your veins and nerves are not located precisely the same as a childs or a body builders, your skin tone might be a factor in how successful the robot is in identifying the right spot for example. A robot might have steadier hands than a surgeon but the surgeon has his own senses to guide his hands or the robots.

We are not the same, which makes it difficult to achieve repeatable precise results. It might be possible to achieve this precision but I would have thought far from easy.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Splab (574204) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397855)

You sir, are an idiot. Plain and simple.

Humans make quite a lot of errors when extracting blood, they put puncture the backside of the vein, they miss the vein - and this is on healthy adults with fairly visible veins.
When it comes to getting a vein on a child or elderly, it can take them many tries, if a robot can find the vein faster and with less complications involved, then it could ultimately save lives.

Personal experience: when I was a child they had 5 goes at my right hand and another 6 at my left, before hitting a vein. As an adult donating blood, I've had them miss my vein because they where too busy thinking about something else, I've had them puncture the backside of the vein, resulting in quite a huge "bruise" (the blood will flow out and collect in the elbow, which looks absolutely grim, but is not dangerous).

A robot can do the same task over and over, never make mistakes due to personal problems etc. Sure, a malfunction *could* happen, but we have used robots along side humans for ages and we use them for surgeries now, with very few problems.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398247)

I still don't see how it would "save lives". I don't think anybody has ever died from a badly done needle. Perhaps you can die from needing some live saving IV and them not being able to find the vein, but I'm pretty sure they'd just go for another target, like in the feet, if they were having lots problems in the hand or arms. The biggest problem I forsee from robots, is that it makes medical care more expensive. Which is becoming a big problem. Robots won't make it cheaper, since there won't be a situation where they would allow it without a qualified doctor or nurse present anyway. Also, the doctors and nurses will be out of practice when the machine inevitably breaks down, meaning they'd do an even worse job than they do now. They'd be better off developing some kind of realistic anatomical hand so that nurses and doctors can get more practice.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398317)

They'd be better off developing some kind of realistic anatomical hand so that nurses and doctors can get more practice.

Which would be great if there were such a thing. Everyone is different because blood vessels are created by a fractal-generating algorithm.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398305)

How about using augmented reality so the person collecting the blood can see the vein the same way the robot can and have annotations for the best spot instead of having the robot also do the decision of where to actually jab?

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397883)

A computer will suffer that bug until it's fixed, but after that, it will never happen again.
A human will depend on a lot of practice, and basically, a lot of training. Nurse school in my home town uses oranges to practice on, but no matter how good the training is, they'll still need to do the real thing.

If you look at computer programming as actual experience. You'll realize that, that experience only grows upwards and are able to pass it on with 100% accuracy to another computer. For humans, they get experience but they can pass very little of that experience, and worse than that, the recipients of that experience, will only learn a smaller of it.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397887)

"If there is a bug". I doubt very much you'll see buggy equipment on hospital wards. Not in the medical profession. There's no shortage of money to buy machines that really work, versus massive company-breaking lawsuits for machines that are "buggy". And to be honest (I was just in the hospital last week), phlebotomy is a skill few people know how to exercise correctly. It took 4 pokes to get a single IV in my arm, and an average of 2 pokes for every blood test. When you're getting blood tests 2/3 times a day, you start to appreciate the guy/gal who knows where to do it. I'd take the machine, if it were proven to be better than a human.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398071)

This is exactly backwards....a human will be aware enough to never jab the needle all the way through your arm.

http://www.ehow.com/about_6595401_phlebotomy-injuries.html [ehow.com]

If there's a bug, the computer will do that happily and quickly.

You would design the hardware not even to be capable of that.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398391)

Of course you can design a robot to not go too far in case of a system failure. You know by putting a mechanical stop in the flexibility of the joint.

The thing is to properly test the equipment. You can have an improperly trained person cause just as much damage. The neat thing with robots, you can get it programmed to a particular degree of accuracy. then you can duplicate it over and over. For people it is like having to write a new program every time.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

pakar (813627) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398569)

And most cars are controlled by computers... so why does not the break's fail or the gas locked to the maximum all the time?

You can design safe systems... If something invalid is detected then go to fail mode and safely stop the procedure. Failure detection can be a combination of both software and physical sensors and could be a secondary system that would operate completely separate from the main one.

And Therac-25 is a really bad example of a poorly designed system.... But there is one interesting thing about it on wikipedia...
"The system noticed that something was wrong and halted the X-ray beam, but merely displayed the word "MALFUNCTION" followed by a number from 1 to 64. The user manual did not explain or even address the error codes, so the operator pressed the P key to override the warning and proceed anyway."
So here it was user-fault again... If something says "MALFUNCTION" and displays an undocumented error-message it might be a good idea to check with the manufacturer what is actually is instead of just proceeding...

Also:
"The software was written in assembly language that might require more attention for testing and good design. However the choice of language by itself is not listed as a primary cause in the report. The machine also used its own operating system."

Why did they write this in assembly??? Make it much harder to do reviews on.... If they did it because they had to little cpu-resources then should have added more resources.

Designing software for safety and/or graceful failures can be tricky, but it's not hard...

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398731)

". so why does not the break's fail or the gas locked to the maximum all the time?"

Clearly your English computer has failed.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397607)

The problem is that when you have so many different types, as lobotomist, it brings in the element of mistake more often than not.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397755)

That is pretty unintentionally funny. The training for lobotomists kind of went like "morte de morte...ve stickensie needle up dyr nose, hard unteel de pop! Den weegle it aroond likeenso". Oh you meant phlebotomist...still there are some who are that bad. Poke poke oh I um vent all de vay true de vein...so sorry...let me get de doktor... (oh shit not the doctor...)

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397913)

You forgot "bork bork bork"!

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397695)

I'll always take a robot over a human when my safety is in question. I want a human involved, but predictable error that can be controlled is far preferable to unknowable error modes of humans.

If you weren't such a coward you would have given enough blood to know better.

Re:Why yes, I would. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397727)

That's because you're an idiot.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Sun (104778) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397793)

For me, it's not the human error aspect, but rather the increased sensory equipment.

I went through chemotherapy a few years ago. One of its (many) side effects was to obliterate my veins. Every time I need to have my blood taken (which is once a year at the very least), my usual nurse first breaths a heavy sigh, then asks me where would I like to be repeatedly stabbed.

If the robot's extra sensors allowed it to stab just once, I'd take the risk of malfunction. Assuming proper hardware design, my robot's worst case cannot be all that worse than my human's typical case.

Shachar

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | 1 year,5 days | (#44398011)

No robot doctor discussion is complete without mention of short-film "Dr. Easy" [vimeo.com] .

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398199)

Yes well, clearly a robot is preferable as they've yet to kill and maim as many people as humans have.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398281)

Alright, now what about recent reports about how most equipment in Hospitals are infected by some sort of Malware?. It's safe to say when these Robots are placed in those facilities, they will become infected along with other equipment. You really want this infected Robot poking around your circulatory system?.

Not only this, in my area I've been seeing advertisements on TV from Law Offices whom are seeking applicants who have been injured by Robotic Equipment. So the injuries have already started. You think about those things. What would be nice would be a safer, non-automated device for Blood extraction.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398325)

Germs in a hospital are not going to corrupt robotic software.

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

pakar (813627) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398695)

Alright, now what about recent reports about how most equipment in Hospitals are infected by some sort of Malware?. It's safe to say when these Robots are placed in those facilities, they will become infected along with other equipment. You really want this infected Robot poking around your circulatory system?.

Devices like this are usually not connected to any network in that sense.... For this one it would only have to be connected if they wanted the vein images from the machine...
There already exists many types of automated systems in hospitals today, like heart-lung machines or how about pace-makers that people are walking around with outside... If they manage to keep the heart-lung machines working i think they can manage to keep this one running too...

Not only this, in my area I've been seeing advertisements on TV from Law Offices whom are seeking applicants who have been injured by Robotic Equipment. So the injuries have already started. You think about those things. What would be nice would be a safer, non-automated device for Blood extraction.

ehmm... "Robotic equipment"... quite broad statement... can be anything from someone tripping over an automated vaccum-cleaner to someone walking into the operating-zone of a factory robot...

Re:Why yes, I would. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398407)

Rule 1 if you are going to get your blood drawn. DO NOT... I REPEATE... DO NOT GET IT DONE BY A DOCTOR, Get it done by a trained tech. a Doctor will screw up and you will have massive bruises. A tech will be in and out without much pain.

Sure I'll do it (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397541)

As soon as it's been QA'd extremely well. I don't want to be a test subject for a poorly designed/constructed system.

Re:Sure I'll do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397587)

I take a medication which requires that I get blood tested frequently. Twice I've gotten a brand new nurse and they've had to poke me several times and wiggle the needle around. People have to learn too.

Re:Sure I'll do it (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397905)

It's even more fun when you're anticoagulated and every poke ends up being a hematoma...

I've seen this movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397547)

Honestly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397557)

Given some of the stories I've heard both from people studying to be pflebs, and both personal and secondhand accounts of *BAD* pflebotomists, I'd probably trust a robot much more to not fuck it up than a human. Honestly while one could do some damage if improperly programmed, there's plenty of pflebs who can manage just as bad of a job themselves.

There's probably also a few that can do an suitably faster/better job, but they'll most likely keep work either in pediatrics or ER wards, where the human touch either is important, or more suitable for it's critical thinking capabilities in situations where robots would have difficulty operating.

I'll give it a try (3, Informative)

rgmoore (133276) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397577)

I'd be willing to give it a try. I've been stuck by enough nurses in my life that I'd be willing to give a robot a try. I wonder if it would identify the same spot that the human phlebotomists always use; I've given blood enough times that I have a nice scar to show where the needle ought to go.

Re:I'll give it a try (1)

sumdumass (711423) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397761)

I had a short hospital stay (10 days) and needed blood drawn every 4 hours the first few days. They had to use a different spot each time too. I had a few who seemed that they couldn't stick a needle in a pin cushion if you put a magnet inside it. I remember asking one girl if she wanted me to give it a try after she missed 10 or so times. Then there was a few who would only need one shot and they had it.

I would give it a try too. If it was mounted on a moveable cart, it wouldn't be too different then how they already do it.

Re:I'll give it a try (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397909)

Arterial blood gases are even more fun, very few people can get that right first go. I happen to be good at it and get it first time, every time. But I am the exception, and it took a lot of practice as an intern! :)

sadistic blood workers (3, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397603)

They used to jab the tip of your finger. That's just about the most sensitive, painful place they could choose to get a blood sample. Fingertips have the greatest concentration of nerves. Being medical professionals, they of all people should know that. So why couldn't they prick some other spot, like the forearm? It really seemed like they were at best indifferent to causing their patients unnecessary pain. At worst, I wondered if some of them were sadists.

Some years ago, a change in this procedure came along. Now, they prick the side of the finger, not the tip. Much, much less painful.

Re:sadistic blood workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397663)

So, I guess you don't play the guitar, ha? Cutting your fingers is trivial and doesn't permanently scar. More so since for 6 years old and under you can chop the tip off, and have the bone and flesh regrow.
Personally there probably hasn't been a period stretching over a month in the last two decades I haven't had something like a paper cut, a stapler mishap, a screwdriver slip, or any sharp pointy metal bit in a PC that hasn't cut my hands. It's often my fingers and it's often so trivial I had a client asking about the blood stains I left on his GPU... I said it was a particularly tough one and charged him extra :)

Re:sadistic blood workers (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397767)

Everyone who's taken a droplet sample from me, has taken it from my fingertip. There's usually a preemptive apology involved, because they know it stings like an SOB, but it's definitely still operating procedure where I am.

There are good reasons... (4, Informative)

sirwired (27582) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397827)

The skin on the tips of your fingers is both thick and generally well-vascularized, (but not so much that there is any chance of hitting a larger vessel).
They don't have to pinch your skin to force sufficient blood to the surface to collect. (This causes bruising in people with fragile skin.)
There is a very high concentration of nerve endings, the pain receptors are not nearly as dense.
There's no muscle, which is sore for some time when injured.
It's consistent from person to person; a forearm stick will vary widely depending on the thickness of the skin, fat, and muscle layers. That's not a worry on the fingertip, where everybody will have enough skin that that's the layer they'll always be drawing from.

Re:sadistic blood workers (1)

Livius (318358) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398329)

It tests blood in circulation in delicate capillaries located far away from the heart.

Re:sadistic blood workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398429)

You're assuming they care; last time I was pricked on the side of the finger, she the nurse used a big needle and went way deeper then she needed to. It literally bled for two days. At the time I was a bit upset, being diabetic I prick myself regularly and knew that was obsessive. Her response was it was easier to make me bleed to much and cause more pain then to risk having to stick me again. The pain or the fact that it meant routine doctors appointments prevent me from touch typing for a couple of days didn't matter.

Re:sadistic blood workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398739)

That's why i ask them what they are going to do and then tell them how i want it done..... "Vårdcentralerna" here in Sweden are like small docor-offices, but the quality between them is horrific... Luckily they only do small investigations before sending you to a specialist, but sometimes you have to force them to send you to the specialist.... Especially with some doctors that think they know everything and then just messes up...

Boy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397605)

I sure hope they tested it on animals! Amiright!?

Does it have more tatoos than the human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397609)

Always, the one with the most tattoos sticks the needle in least painfully.

Re: Robodracula anyone? (1)

guttentag (313541) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397617)

I think you mean, "Robo-Dr. Acula!" [wikia.com] (Video [youtube.com] )

Re: Robodracula anyone? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397759)

No, I think they mean IT-O [nocookie.net] from Star Wars.

Re: Robodracula anyone? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398599)

You're both wrong. It's the Medic Droid [wikipedia.org] .

In the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397629)

doctors won't be able to help anyone when there's a blackout.

Re:In the future (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397843)

Like they could today...

Re:In the future (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397915)

That's why hospitals have generators. No blackouts in hospitals, unless the power is out so long the hospital runs out of fuel.

Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397639)

Does it use the same software [youtube.com] as the Dead Space 2 Needle Machine?

Yes. (1)

drolli (522659) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397675)

I had a trombosis and got blood taken for amalysis more than once per week for half a year. Some nurses are good at it, some suck. And after hitting each of the standard places 10 times only the ones who are good at it will sudded without additional pain.

I would recomment/prefer to build the system not as a robot but as scanner which guides the nurse and indicates the right position to her does the fine positioning on the mm scale.

Re:Yes. (1)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397741)

...

I would recomment/prefer to build the system not as a robot but as scanner which guides the nurse and indicates the right position to her does the fine positioning on the mm scale.

I've heard they have a machine for this actually. When i was at the hospital someone was supposed to bring some machine up to get blood from me, but they just took it from my artery instead. The specifics i do not know.

Would You Let a Human Perform Surgery? (2)

Snufu (1049644) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397679)

Machines and computers are ideally suited to many of the tasks that make up medical care. Autonomous systems are already omnipresent throughout medicine and its only a matter of time before we trust them ahead of error-prone humans, especially for tasks that require fast reaction, repetition, or precision.

Future generations may gasp at the thought that at one point in our history we went under the knife to mortal hands.

Re:Would You Let a Human Perform Surgery? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397837)

The better question would be, do you want a human to be responsible for your intensive care? Would you want a human to replace the machines that might keep you alive one day? That do your dialysis?

I sure as HELL would not!

Machines are ideally suited for performing routine tasks that have little if any variation. It will of course take a time to perfect them and it will probably result in accidents and errors in the early stages, and I most certainly would want a qualified person there to oversee the whole operation in case the robot goes bananas. But there is simply nothing better than a machine for a routine task. They don't tire, they don't gloss over details because they get bored, they can't be distracted by personal problems or by external input or emergency calls, and most of all they won't start to chitchat to "distract" you. That alone is enough reason for me to prefer a machine...

I'd do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397681)

A robot is less likely to miss, which is a good thing when it comes to finding veins in your arm or shoulder.

Hellya! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397685)

As apposed to the CVS employee or doctor who told me that it was okay that he was reusing gloves, because they were for his protection.

If not, you enjoy driving your car? (1)

Mr Mango (2929691) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397715)

Your car was built by robots, yeah some parts are still done by hand. But a huge part of the manufacture process is done by robots. People are happy to assume the car is not going to break and risk their life every day. So why not a needle?

Lack of Empathy (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397717)

One thing about a human doctor though is that they often know what it feels like to be in pain. A robot doesn't as it only has an algorithm. A nurse, when she sticks the needle in, will notice how you react, whether you feel pain or not. I would think the robot would need to have some manner of sensing if it is doing something harmful or painful to the patient.

However, I have had doctors and nurses that are completely insensitive to their patients, so if the robot can get it right each time it might be a better alternative. I've had sessions where it took 4 tries for the nurse to get the intravenous in correctly. It was not a very pleasant experience. I'd let the robot give it a try after that.

Re:Lack of Empathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397801)

I don't know about "this" robot, but if you're willing to let the robot immobilize your arm, a robot could in theory use IR spectrum to see your blood vessels and use stereo vision (or parallax mono) to build a 3D model of where they're located relative to the skin, and score a perfect dead-center stick without any risk of the dreaded push through. And EVERYONE would rate it "A++++ 10/10 would get stuck by robovampire again."

Sure the nurse will "feel your pain", but the robot won't cause you any pain, so there's no need for empathy.

Re:Lack of Empathy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397917)

The fun part comes with old people who have calcified veins that resist the needle so much you actually end up pushing the vein around instead of poking it. I wonder how the robot would handle that, heheh.

Re:Lack of Empathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397879)

We stick USB sticks, memory, CPUs, motherboards into computers everyday, without a thought of humanity. We inject software into their run-time environments, which sometimes interrupt their thoughts completely, and at other times, adjunct to whatever they were thinking, slowing down what they were thinking about to dedicate resources for whatever we've added.
Yet not once, do we think of the computer's humanity, even when it cries in pain, as CPU's TAC, memory overflows are manipulated, and networks time-out, due to a sloppy code or intentional malware.
Humanity has a long way to suffer with machines before we can even answer a machine to human interface that comes close to a humane interface.

I have hard to find veins (1)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397735)

Nurses, and whomever tries to take blood from me has a hell of a time and usually costs me a bit of pain. Recently I had to go to ER for some chest pains. It took them 2+ hours to get blood out of me. They never put an IV in me like they were planning.

So yes, I'd take a robot doing this. Technology has advanced far enough that machines can be responsible enough to do stuff like this, imo.

Re:I have hard to find veins (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397885)

Whether or not a robot does your next jab you might consider drinking water an hour or so beforehand to get fully hydrated. This will help a lot in case you haven't been doing this and you can drink water even if you need to fast.

Eye sight is already corrected by machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397763)

LASIK relies for a machine to hit the eye several hundred times a second, so having a robot to take a blood sample is nothing. I hope more of these medical procedures could be done by robots as that reduces human error. No matter how well we train doctors and nurses they cannot compare to a robot that specializes in doing one task perfectly.

We trust robots all the time. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397777)

I'm not worried about it. Robots like this could be great life savers for remote communities that have bad medical care. Or even great for people bedridden at home that need fairly consistent medical attention.

What will be interesting is that at some point the robots will start automating more and more... and we might see some sophisticated autodocs. That's going to be a far future development. But this is where it starts folks.

DWI Blood Collection Device? (1)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397785)

I could see something like this useful in law inforcement. Rather than train a LEO to draw blood or have a medical professional there, have a machine like this. I for one would NOT let a LEO stick me with a needle....

Re:DWI Blood Collection Device? (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397851)

They usually radio a magistrate at the station and take you a hospital or clinic to have blood drawn. This little machine could prevent people from dropping below the limit in the interim

As many horror stories I've heard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397807)

I'd give the robot a fair chance.

half way there (1)

pbjones (315127) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397811)

I'd let the robot show a human the vein, but it would stop there. just spent 3 months in hospital, needles every 3 days, only one nurse used an infra-red device to locate a vein, many were told to come back later, they only get 2 chances!

Yes. Absolutely. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397817)

A nurse once tried to draw blood from an acquaintance of mine, and ended up paralyzing him for over a year before he managed to get the use of his arm back. They were sure he was never going to have the feeling returned to his arm. If the machine can reliably find the right areas the stick then more power to them. With nurses and other individuals, it's still often a matter of trial an error, especially on certain patients with harder to find veins.

Where's the big deal? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397819)

A druggy can do it, why should a robot fail where a dopehead succeeds?

Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle? (1)

ignavus (213578) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397853)

Sure I would - after I had read the studies about its reliability and watched you do it first.

I have had really good people take blood from a vein (including a nervous pathology collector who did a perfect job) and at least one agonising experience (medical registrar).

At least you don't have to make inane conversation with robodracula while it drills for oil in your arm (oops, that was the medical registrar).

Gladly..! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397859)

Even if it were rusty and programmed by an idiot, it'll still give far better results than those talentless NHS idiots in UK.

Upto 90% accuracy ? (1)

giorgist (1208992) | 1 year,5 days | (#44397903)

1 billion blood draws a year at 90% accuracy making 100 million blue of skin death events :-) G

Would be better than most nurses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397925)

Seriously, who else had problems with nurses not being able to "find" the vein, only to stab you with the needle multiple time until she finally got it?
I'd sooner trust a robot over another nurse after the last time.

Re:Would be better than most nurses... (1)

xushi (740195) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398137)

What if the robot was operated by the nurse? o_O

I'd Give It A Chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44397937)

And if it didn't do it the first try I'd demand a real blood tech do it.

Most definitely (1)

WoLpH (699064) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398091)

Most of the times they screw up when tapping blood from me so I would have more faith in a robot

Rule 34 (1)

Aboroth (1841308) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398139)

I haven't looked it up but there has got do be robot needle porn out there. Those guys would respond with a very enthusiastic "Yes!".

It doesn't have to be perfect... (1)

dkf (304284) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398233)

It just has to be better than the majority of junior medical staff that do this sort of thing, especially freshman medics and nursing students. Yes, some more experienced staff will not be helped by this, but improving the level of care for most people is still a worthwhile goal.

Not as easy as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398337)

As a doctor I've done a good few thousand blood draws & cannulas. Like many skills in medicine in can be very easy (you can learn the procedure in a few hours) but in some patients it is extremely challenging. Chemotherapy, diabetics, & obese patients make it difficult (if you want to avoid being stabbed multiple times I would advise not being overweight). Humans are capable of amazingly dexterous coordination that no robot can yet better, & I think that it will be many years before this robot is as good as a human in challenging patients. I doubt that it will be cheap enough for its use to become widespread, but it may find a niche somewhere.

Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44398351)

The skill of the human putting in needles makes a huge difference. If this machine can perform close to the level of the better humans, bring it on! For a surgery I once had, nurse A put a HUGE permanent needle into my hand in a second with no pain. A few days later, nurse B needed to redo that, now with a much smaller needle. It took many tries and much pain, even though at this point I had been doped up with morphine to deal with pain in the days after the surgery. If the robot was even 90% as good as nurse A, that would have been much preferred. When humans do it, there is always going to be a period where they are learning like nurse B. Once the robot is good, a new robot will be good right away.

You mean as part of BDSM? (1)

nbritton (823086) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398387)

Would You Let a Robot Stick You With a Needle?

Is BDSM Involved?

Already in use (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398557)

My wife is in the medical field. She recently got a new job at a new place that uses a robotic needle. Having been the person that normally administers the needle she was a bit concerned about the whole robot thing but after she started using it she says it's far superior to doing it by hand. She's told me the robot is so good at it she's been told by the patients that they don't even feel the needle go in. Then there's the added benefit of no needle sticks. At least once a year my wife would have a needle stick accident. They are complex in the medical field, involve lots of paperwork, blood tests, co-operation from the patient to get tested for HIV etc... When you handle that many needles, that often it's just going to happen.

If the machine is well-designed, of course I would (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | 1 year,4 days | (#44398597)

Since it will be less error-prone, and potentially cleaner, than a human.
After all, robotic hip replacement has been around for a while, and has proven both faster and better....

You'd have to be pretty damn confident to sign up for a robotic vasectomy, tho...

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