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Catalan hospital studies incorporation of robot to help patients

Use of state-of-the-art technology in health sector would be a first in the country

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28 March 2018 12:32 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

These days, technology plays a key role in the health sector, as experts constantly seek new ways to advance the field. In one Catalan hospital, using a robot for patient support is currently being studied as a possibility in what would be a first for the country.

The Althaia Foundation held a training session at Manresa Hospital with a state-of-the-art android in order to evaluate how the technology could be incorporated in assisting patients. The session was held in conjunction with Idntt, a private Barcelona-based company dedicated to developing digital solutions.

Technological solutions

The robot would be able to resolve doubts, provide information, and accompany patients around the hospital.

“The idea is to see how it can help us, but we are not looking to substitute people,” explained the head of the foundation, Bartomeu Ayala. The robot in question, which goes by the name of Pepper, is able to speak twenty languages, interact with people, as well as express emotions.

It also has built in facial recognition technology allowing it to provide statistical information by collecting data such as user typology and waiting times without the need to ask anybody.

Due to its ability to make calls, recognize people, and advise staff when a client arrives, the robot is already being used in other sectors such as the hotel industry. “We are looking to find other outlets for it beyond leisure,” said Pere Barnola of Idntt.

In the United States, Barnola explained that the robot is already being used “to accompany children throughout the illness process, and in the reception.”

In its most basic form, the robot costs 17,000 euros. If the The Althaia Foundation goes ahead with plans to acquire the robot, it would be the first health centre in the country to do so.

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  • Members of the Althaia Foundation alongside the robot Pepper (by ACN)

  • Members of the Althaia Foundation alongside the robot Pepper (by ACN)