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Lifelike Robot Prepares Doctors For Childbirth

BOSTON (CBS) - Delivering a baby can be routine, or tremendously complex, jeopardizing the lives of both mother and baby. And that means health care providers need a lot of training, but we don't want them to practice during real births.

On Monday, we got a closer look at the latest generation of birth "simulator," a robot really, that goes by the name, Victoria. "This is Victoria," says Jim Archetto from Gaumard Scientific, showing us what looks like a manikin. "You can see she's a realistic, lifelike birthing simulator," adds Archetto.

We got a look at the robot at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians at the Boston Convention Center. "She will deliver a baby, she will speak during that delivery, her eyes blink," says Archetto.

And she's connected to fetal heartbeat and contraction monitors, her oxygen levels are being measured and so is her blood pressure. All in real time. "That's beneficial for health care providers because they get to practice these difficult, challenging deliveries on a simulator before they have to do it on a real, live patient," he adds.

Birth simulator and baby (WBZ-TV)

The simulator is also programmable. It could be a routine birth, a breach or even a c-section. "She comes with 49 preset scenarios," Archetto says. And teachers can customize those.

"The students will have to respond to those patient complexities," says Archetto. All the way through the moment of truth when a robotic baby is 'born.' But the training doesn't end there. The program we saw shows the baby turning blue due to lack of oxygen, so the trainee has to act. "Victoria and the babies are so sophisticated that they'll actually respond to the treatment," Archetto says.

The price tag is $62,500. Mass General has a Victoria and several other Boston institutions have earlier versions of the birth simulator.

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