Robot Roams Blodgett Halls

December 27, 2007
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EAST GRAND RAPIDS — Blodgett Hospital is using a robot nicknamed “Rosie” to handle the mundane task of pick-up and delivery of specimens between operating rooms and the laboratory.

Made by Aethon of Pittsburgh, Pa., the Tug robot consists of an enclosed cart sitting on a mobile, computerized “foot.” Programmed with the hospital’s layout, Blodgett’s Rosie can summon elevators, maneuver hallways, announce its arrival and politely request that people get out of its way. It travels every two hours between its two destinations, said Sue Mammina, administrative director of laboratories at Blodgett and Butterworth.

“It’s really improved our ability to support patient care,” Mammina said, by taking over a time-consuming, routine task from clinical staff. She said Butterworth also is considering a Tug robot.

According to Aethon’s Web site, the Tug robot is in use in several dozen U.S. hospitals. It costs about $1,500 per month to lease. Aethon also has developed a robot called Homer, which handles hospital asset tracking using RFID technology.   HQX

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