Scientists Think Robots Might Help Yank Babies Out One Day

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team from the MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have been tinkering with the routines of an existing robot to see if it might be of any use during childbirth, making decisions or fetching towels etc when the humans are otherwise engaged. And yes, they think it might.

The paper [PDF] says that the robot hasn't been trusted with peering inside a lady's part and yanking out the child just yet, though. It's being used to make scheduling decisions, which must be quite the slap in the face for existing medical staff. The reprogrammed Nao robot apparently made care decisions that the human staff went on to carry out around 90 per cent of the time, responding to scheduling questions, organising calendar events, monitoring the availability of nursing staff  and suchlike with a decent enough degree of success.

There are two ultimate ambitions behind the project; creating a tool that might help train novice nurses, and perhaps one day helping to make better nursing decisions -- or at least prompt humans to check themselves -- when the babies are popping out into the real world. [MIT via CNN]

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