The presence of robots in hospitals and nursing homes has increased in recent years and will continue to increase as robotics technology improves. This exhibit explores how robots are being used in everyday life to assist humans in completing tasks.
In hospitals, TUG™, Aethon's Automated Robotic Delivery System, is transporting bulk materials, medications, and meals between ancillary, support, and patient care units. In roboworld™, the TUG Zone adjacent to the Service Bots exhibit will allow visitors to program a route for a TUG robot, as well as present obstacles for it to navigate.
Utilizing a collection of sensors, TUG avoids obstacles and continues on its pre-programmed routes to complete its tasks without requiring embedded tracks or path routes. TUG's on-board computer contains a programmed map of a building, which helps the TUG always know where it's located.
TUG is able to navigate a hospital by using an array of sensors that include infrared, sonar, and laser systems to track its location. When TUG senses an obstacle, it slows to a stop and says, "Waiting to Proceed," before navigating around the person or object. TUG can even open locked security doors or call the elevator to travel to a different floor. When its battery runs low, TUG docks itself to recharge automatically. That's one intelligent robot!
Pittsburgh's Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center's research deals with almost all aspects of human living. QoLT systems will affect people in different settings with different functionalities: in their homes, in neighborhoods, hospitals, nursing homes, or wherever advanced robotics technologies can be used to assist people to live fuller lives.