Towards a Human-like Robot for Medical Simulation
Thayer, Nicholas D.
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Medical mannequins provide the first hands-on training for nurses and doctors and help eliminate human mistakes that would otherwise take place with a real person. The closer the mannequin is to mimicking a human being, the more effective the training; thus, additional features such as movable limbs and eyes, vision processing and realistic social interaction will provide a more fulfilling learning experience. A humanoid robot with a 23 degree of freedom (DOF) hand was developed which is capable of performing complex dexterous tasks such as typing on a keyboard. A single DOF elbow and two DOF shoulder was designed and optimized to maintain human form while being able to dynamically lift common household items. A 6 DOF neck and 13 DOF face with a highly expressive silicone skin-motor arrangement has been developed. The face is capable of talking and making several expressions and is used to train the student to pick up on emotional cues such as eye contact and body language during the interview stage. A pair of 3 DOF legs and a torso were also developed which allows the humanoid to be in either the laying down or sitting up position. An algorithm was developed that only activates necessary areas of code in order to increase its cycle time which greatly increases the vision tracking capabilities of the eyes. The simulator was tested at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke VA with several of the medical staff and their feedback is provided in this document.
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