Researchers and engineers at Gaumard Scientific have revealed a robot that assists with medical training devices. The robot, known as HAL, looks like a five-year old boy and opens the door to new training techniques.
HAL looks and acts like a young boy. He can track a finger with his eyes, answer questions, cry out for his mother and experience anaphylactic shock. He can also portray when he’s scared by breathing faster and/or urinating. He has been designed to allow doctors and nurses in-training to perform tests such as taking his blood pressure, checking his pulse and monitoring breathing. Real medical equipment can be used on HAL, which includes an EKG machine, heart or blood pressure monitor, breathing tubes and scalpels.
HAL can be shocked with a defibrillator and have his throat cut for insertion of a tracheal tube. Doctors in training can also draw blood, insert urinary catheters or insert a chest tube with what looks like real blood coming from the tub. He will also flinch or say “ouch” if he is pricked, mimicking the movements of a real patient.
Gaumard has created other robotic training tools for the medical industry including a robotic mother who gives birth. When creating HAL they kept off intricate features like freckles and hair follicles, fearing that if HAL bled to death or experienced cardiac arrest, it might be too emotionally traumatic for the students practicing on HAL.