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Robot Doctors Coming To A Hospital Near You?

BOSTON (CBS) - They've sent robots to the battlefield to keep soldiers safe from unknown dangers, and to our living rooms to clean up when we're not home.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports.


Now, the latest creation from Bedford-based iRobot is heading to hospitals: the RP-VITA.

"Getting the right specialist to see the patient in a very short amount of time can make the difference between life and death," said Glen Weinstein of iRobot.

So now, a doctor can be at the bedside of any patient anywhere.

iRobot teamed up with InTouch Health to develop a 5-foot-4, remotely controlled, physician on wheels.

On the top of the robot is a large clear HD screen showing a doctor's face.

"(The doctor's face) is the most reassuring thing a patient can see," said Weinstein.

The robot can be paired with other medical devices, like an ultrasound or stethoscope, for instant health updates.

The RP-VITA is able to navigate crowded hospital hallways all alone, too.

"The robot is also able to distinguish obstacles and understand whether they are people or whether
they're physical objects," said Weinstein.

So, it's able to move seamlessly through an unstructured environment.

The price of round-the-clock virtual care is about $6,000 a month and it should be rolling out to hospitals around the country by the end of the year.

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