Life-Sized Robot Gives Birth
Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 11:49PM
Malcolm Lambe
Great story from Reuters: "With South Korea's birth rate at its lowest ever, medical students are resorting to robots to practice bringing babies into the world. Kyunghee University Medical Center in Seoul is the first institution in South Korea to use Noelle, a life-sized robot, and her "newborn" to give obstetric students experience. "With this simulator training tool, we can conduct not only normal deliveries, but also complicated deliveries such as breech births, Caesarean deliveries," Professor Jung Eui told Reuters Television. "Students can practice in a very realistic situation with this mannequin." Students regularly crowd around Noelle as she gives "birth." They take turns at monitoring her vital signs and at pulling the "baby" out of her body. The newborn, also a robot, is equipped with lights on its hands and cheeks to indicate its health -- blue lights mean problems while pink lights signal all is ok. Students say using Noelle is more useful than sitting in a classroom and taking notes. "I think it's more helpful to have delivery training on a life-like mannequin than studying with books or lectures before treating my first live patient," said student Woon Jin-kwang. Professor Jung said South Korea's consistently decreasing birth-rate gave her students fewer chances to watch and practice delivering babies, making Noelle's presence necessary. South Korea currently has a population of just over 48 million and one of the lowest birth rates in the world -- an average of 1.08 children per woman. Noelle was purchased for $20,000 from Miami-based Gaumard Scientific Co. Inc. in the United States. She was manufactured in 2000 and over 400 units have been sold in the United States." I notice BoingBoing are running this story too but they don't have the video up. BoingBoing story here And here's another good video from Gabriel Slate of robots being used to teach medicine - Every home should have one.
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