Robonurse, etc.

Personalized Medicine and Cancer The discovery of multiple genes for colorectal cancer will lead to diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic targets for the disease. In about two years, we may expect to have available a test for post-surgical colon cancer recurrence that will identify which patients might benefit from chemotherapy. We can expect a tsunami of […]

Devices & Robotics

On July 21, 2006, in Devices & Robotics

Implanting brain chips that attach to neurons to help read thoughts (such as the BrainGate chip we have reported on before) carries obvious risks. It appears possible to achieve somewhat similar results non-invasively (though at a much coarser grain) using an EEG skull cap to sense and interpret spikes in brainwave activity. Taking another non-invasive […]

Devices & Robotics

On May 21, 2006, in Devices & Robotics

The end is in sight for what is probably the last non-digital device in the doctor’s black bag — the sphygmomanometer, the device for taking blood pressure. Similarly, the medical lab’s venerable optical microscope is under threat from a new scanning device. Other devices reported recently: An implantable drug dispensercontrolled externally by wireless signals has […]


On September 14, 2004, in Devices & Robotics

When we first wrote about NASA�s humanoid robot �Robonaut� in September 2003, it had already developed hands dexterous enough to wield tools such as wrenches. By January 2004, it was developing sensitive skin and the ability to understand human spoken commands. Now, it has a leg� and wheels. And the wheels are getting smarter. Carnegie […]


On December 12, 2003, in Devices & Robotics

If the outsourcing trend doesn’t get the radiologists (see the Policy & Practice section), the robots will. The US may lag Europe and Japan in automating service jobs, but that lag will disappear once the competitive economics of globalization start to bite. Where are all the service workers to go? Other robotics developments this month: […]


On November 12, 2003, in Devices & Robotics

A fully autonomous cow-milking robot will leave the farmer happier and the milkmaid out of a job; a semi-autonomous window cleaning robot will take better care of buildings than human cradle crews; and a semi-automatic robotic cardiac catheterization system may be another warning shot across the surgeon’s bow, given the clear trend to increasing robot […]


On October 12, 2003, in Devices & Robotics

Nobody knows what “consciousness” is, but we’re building what we think it might be into robots anyway. We’re also building “female-ness” into some, and finding them smarter as a result. One robot with at least a female name was smart enough to attend a conference and deliver a speech, more or less all by itself. […]