Robots closer to performing bed baths (w/ Video)

Nov 11, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Cody robot. Image credit: Travis Deyle

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cody, a robot built at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S., has been demonstrated initiating contact with a live person and cleaning their arm and leg using wiping motions. This leads the way towards a robot that will in the future be able to autonomously carry out bed baths on live patients.

The robot was developed by a team led by Dr. Charles Kemp, the principal investigator for the Healthcare Robotics Laboratory. Cody has compliant arms and a specialized "bath mitt" attached to one of them. The area of skin is selected via a camera and laser range finder, and then the robot cleans it with the soapy bath mitt, using a gentle wiping motion. The robot's arm joints have reduced stiffness to soften any accidental impacts, and the robot is programmed to never exert pressure capable of causing injury. As an added safety measure, there is also a “stop” button to instantly stop the robot moving.

The initial contact in the experiment was made by the robot, which differs from most robot/human contact experiments in which the human initiates the interaction.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The psychological effect on patients of having an carry out their bed baths is unknown, but leading postdoctoral student on the team, Dr. Chih-Hung (Aaron) King, who was the robot’s demonstration "patient," said the experience made him tense at first but his trust of the robot grew and the tension waned after a while. There was little or no discomfort involved, and he never felt afraid.

The researchers say having a robot carry out hygiene tasks such as bed baths for incapacitated patients may have advantages such as giving the patient greater privacy and independence, and may improve their quality of life. A could also provide some relief for nurses or carers who sometimes find the bed bath embarrassing, which can also make the patient feel uncomfortable.

Cody was introduced at last month’s 2010 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Taipei, Taiwan. The theme of this year’s conference was "Intelligent Robotics in the Next Transition" to reflect the increasing interest in human-robot interactions and using robots to help improve the quality of life for humans.

Explore further: Telerobotics puts robot power at your fingertips

More information:
-- www.hizook.com/blog/2010/11/04… aths-patient-hygiene
-- www.healthcare-robotics.com/

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User comments : 31

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lengould100
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2010
Excellent work. This need to be developed and mass produced at a cost people could afford for home care.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (12) Nov 11, 2010
Excellent work. This need to be developed and mass produced at a cost people could afford for home care.

You have got to be kidding me. These machines are brain dead and dangerous. I would not trust one of those things giving me a bath.
Once quantum computers become available, faster processors and smarter software programs are designed, then I may be willing to lie in bed and let one of those things do its magic to me.
I am still debating if artificial intelligence will require a soul in order to excel like humans or beyond human capability.
dsl5000
3.3 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2010
To TabulaMentis:

That is the kind of thinking that doesn't excel forward. This machinery would be excellent in nursing homes, for people who are incapable of taking showers due to physical or mental inability.

It's like using GPS for guides (cause most of us don't have the patience to use maps). And hope it doesn't guide us to on-coming traffic or off a cliff lol

Automobile for transportation because we trust that the gas tank/oil won't explode on us.

Auto machinery to assemble cars and trust that whatever is assembled won't fall apart right away.

These machines aren't brain dead...they don't have a brain. As for dangerous..perhaps dangerously efficient :)

As for artificial intelligence..well that's relative to putting man on the pedestal (a different debate :P).
TabulaMentis
1.1 / 5 (10) Nov 11, 2010
@dsl5000

You must be an attorney waiting to make lots of money from lawsuits from patients being injured by robots.
dtxx
3.3 / 5 (8) Nov 11, 2010
I'd give the chick in the picture a bed bath if you know what I'm sayin...
Noumenon
4.7 / 5 (52) Nov 11, 2010
I'd give the chick in the picture a bed bath if you know what I'm sayin...

Yea, worth dressing up like a robot.
Noumenon
4.6 / 5 (49) Nov 11, 2010
I am still debating if artificial intelligence will require a soul in order to excel like humans or beyond human capability
What's a soul? I think we are light years away from knowing how consciousness comes about, and certainly traditional programming paradigmn could never achieve it.
LariAnn
1 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2010
In a sense, a uniquely sophisticated AI programming algorithm set could be described as an "artificial soul" in these terms: What is the difference between an inert robot and a "live" one if both are provided with power and both have fully functional mechanical parts? The difference is the "soul" or operating system, running on the "live" machine. Without it, you have just a very expensive collection of parts.
jselin
not rated yet Nov 11, 2010
Does it give happy endings? LOL
Noumenon
4.6 / 5 (48) Nov 11, 2010
The term "soul" is meaningless. I think you mean consciousness. The problem of AI beyond merely mimicking behavior or rudimentary "learning", is the same problem of consciousness,.. what IS it and how does it come about!
KBK
1 / 5 (3) Nov 11, 2010
We know what is next...

Robotic Rub'n'Tug.
El_Nose
4 / 5 (1) Nov 11, 2010
well since quantum computer solve by definition quantum physics problems you may be waiting until the end of the universe for one to do the mundane task of washing you.

quantum computers have been misrepresented by the journalists reporting on them, and those educated in the matter show little regard in fixing the situation. Quantum computers will solve a select group of algorithms faster than anything dreamed of in the past -- but those algorithms will not be going into a video game, or video card, and will not make the next MS office suite run faster, nither will your Xbox 1440 or PS12 be a quantum based system.

Remember the first computers were little more than giant calculators and thats what they were used for, interger manipulation is at their core. Well the first quantum computers will be labratories for questions about the quantum world and will expand from there, and parallel mathematical simplification of probability densities at there core. a much different beast.
DamienS
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 11, 2010
You call that a bed bath? A proper bed bath is far more complicated than simply rubbing the top of a pre-exposed limb. You need to be able to uncover a patient's limb from under a blanket or pajama sleeve (depending on their condition), you may need to help the patient to sit up and expose the body for washing or to roll them over on their sides. Dealing with shape-shifting materials (clothes, blankets, sheets, etc) is very challenging. By comparison, this robot's abilities are a joke.
Kedas
not rated yet Nov 12, 2010
OK this machine is useless, but I can think of some 'wrong' applications. ;-)

You don't want a consciousness in that robot otherwise it would probably strike.
Shakescene21
2 / 5 (1) Nov 12, 2010
I haven't bought long-term care insurance because I'm betting that these personal care robots will be ready when I need them. I would much rather be in my home with a service robot than in a nursing home.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 13, 2010
@Kedas

You don't want a consciousness in that robot otherwise it would probably strike.

I want my consciousness placed in a robot before I die. However, I most likely will have to create a new soul because the original would no longer be with me. The era of real Frankensteins is coming.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 13, 2010
What type of artificial intelligence (AI) will robots use?

Computer chip that computes probabilities and not logic
http://www.physor...331.html

So far I have heard that the "soul" is:
#1: Operating System.
#2: Consciousness.

I think the soul is something that is immortal, something that is near impossible to destroy.

On the other hand, an artificial soul may not be infallible.

Humans may hold an advantage over robots?
Zander
not rated yet Nov 13, 2010
@TabulaMentis

how do you know that we have a soul?
how do you measure it?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 13, 2010
@Zander

I think the odds are in favor of it.
I believe the atomic body does not contain the central operating system, nor the consciousness.

We will be able to measure it when we develop the detectors to see it.
Raygunner
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
Here is a new term (at least for me): The Synthetic Soul. This will be a "natural" outgrowth and outcome of the programming, but only when good feedback a good real-world interface allows independent learning and behavioral modification of the automated device. It will take time but with the right sensor sets, wiring, and a concentrated processing layout (self-contained similar to the brain) I think the device could become self-aware within a year's time.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
@Zander

The below November 12, 2010 article is about something we can only detect indirectly.

Detailed dark matter map yields clues to galaxy cluster growth.
http://www.physor...ter.html
Newbeak
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
I think what's needed is a theory that explains human intelligence,which is vital if you are designing a machine to perform tasks at a human level.To date,AI has not produced machines with true intelligence because it has failed miserably to understand the solution developed by evolution.After reading a new book by Jeff Hawkins:On Intelligence,I have renewed hope we will be able to duplicate the workings of the mind in a machine.See: http://en.wikiped...l_memory
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
@Raygunner

The below August 09, 2010 article is the design of a chip that may work well with a Synthetic Soul machine.

Computer chip that computes probabilities and not logic.
http://www.physor...331.html

However, in order to be able to upload and download information to and from the mind rapidly, it has to have a fast memory transfer device. Otherwise, there will be like the first PCs before WYSIWYG (Wizzy Wig) [What You See Is What You Get] operating systems that had very slow processors and very little memory storage requiring computer operators to know DOS programming.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
@Newbreak

I like the link you provided about: Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM).

HTM appears to be related to Holographic Principle theory, but there is no mention of it.
Newbeak
not rated yet Nov 14, 2010
@Newbreak

I like the link you provided about: Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM).

HTM appears to be related to Holographic Principle theory, but there is no mention of it.

I haven't heard of Holographic Principle Theory before,but reading what one website says about it, I believe it is something different. Hawkins' theory is much more down to earth,and if it actually explains how the brain works,it will be revolutionary.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
@Newbreak

What happens if the consciousness resides in the first dimension?

Hierarchical temporal memory appears to reside in the second dimension the way it is illustrated!

That is why I mentioned the Holographic Principle.

A natural human soul would be best protected in the first dimension.
dtxx
2 / 5 (4) Nov 14, 2010
@Newbreak

What happens if the consciousness resides in the first dimension?

Hierarchical temporal memory appears to reside in the second dimension the way it is illustrated!

That is why I mentioned the Holographic Principle.

A natural human soul would be best protected in the first dimension.


What happens if lobsters with mittens instead of claws reside in the first dimension? May as well be debating that one...
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 14, 2010
What happens if lobsters with mittens instead of claws reside in the first dimension? May as well be debating that one...


Lobster intelligence does not interest me much, but lobsters can live longer than humans.
Newbeak
not rated yet Nov 17, 2010
@Newbreak

What happens if the consciousness resides in the first dimension?

Hierarchical temporal memory appears to reside in the second dimension the way it is illustrated!

That is why I mentioned the Holographic Principle.

A natural human soul would be best protected in the first dimension.

I think you are comparing apples and oranges here.Hawkins' diagram is just to illustrate how inputs move up and down the columns of nervous tissue.Each layer sees more of the "big picture" than the layer below.I think Hawkins said he believes consciousness is the sum of all the parts working together,but its existence or non-existence isn't a major concern of his.
The most exciting thing for me is that he can prove (or fail to prove) his theory by reproducing real intelligence in a machine.
Newbeak
not rated yet Nov 17, 2010
@Newbreak

What happens if the consciousness resides in the first dimension?

Hierarchical temporal memory appears to reside in the second dimension the way it is illustrated!

That is why I mentioned the Holographic Principle.

A natural human soul would be best protected in the first dimension.

I think you are comparing apples and oranges here.Hawkins' diagrams are just to illustrate how inputs move up and down the columns of nervous tissue.Each layer sees more of the "big picture" than the layer below.I think Hawkins said he believes consciousness is the sum of all the parts working together,but its existence or non-existence isn't a major concern of his.
The most exciting thing for me is that he can prove (or fail to prove) his theory by reproducing real intelligence in a machine.

TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Nov 18, 2010
@Newsbreak

The word 'TabulaMentis' stands for 'slate of the mind' or 'tablet of the mind.'

HTM and TabulaMentis (TM) share some common ground.

It is a challenge trying to understand how the biological thought process works and how to apply it to inanimate thought machines.