Robot Nurse Cody. Admit it. The thought of letting a robot bathe you is creepy, no matter how gentle the procedure promises to be. That’s the initial reaction of most people anyway, at least until they actually try it. While the exact psychological effect of having an autonomous robot carry out bed baths on patients is still unknown.
A leading postdoctoral student on the team of Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, Dr. Chih-Hung King, who lay down in bed as a demonstration “patient,” said the experience made him tense in the beginning, but that “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.” He was referring to Robot Nurse Cody, a robot that actually gives sponge baths to patients.
A bed bath, where a nurse or family member uses a soapy sponge to
clean off a patient's skin, can actually be an awkward social
situation, making both the caregiver and patient feel uncomfortable.
Researchers say having a robot carry out hygiene tasks these tasks
patients offer huge advantages in this area. Patients are given greater
privacy and independence, and nurses and caregivers who find the bed
baths embarrassing are provided relief.
Introduced at last month’s 2010 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Taipei, Taiwan, Cody, the robot nurse was developed by a team led by Dr. Charles Kemp, the principal investigator for the Healthcare Robotics Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology.