AI News, Ebola Robot Workshop at Texas A&M: my report out

Ebola Robot Workshop at Texas A&M: my report out

CRASAR, with funding from the Center for Emergency Informatics, and the TEEX Product Development center held a two day series of workshops on robotics for medical disasters.  The major takeaway was that robots do exist that could be immediately repurposed now to protect Ebola health workers but how robots fit into the medical response enterprise is as important as what the robots can actually do.

The success of hardened robots in providing these services depends on ensuring that they are appropriate for the work domain in five ways: The sentiment shared by the TAMU participants was that the biggest barrier to near-term use was not the lack of capable robots but rather the lack of requirements that would allow industry to invest in repurposing robots and  enable agencies to test and evaluate the robots and develop training.  Currently there are no details on the operational envelopment for the robot or operator.

The Texas AM talks covered the state of the practice in DoD robots (TARDEC) and casualty evacuation systems (TATRC) that can be repurposed, lessons learned so far in using robots at the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning (University of Tokyo), and opportunities for community recovery (TAMU Hazards Reduction and Recovery Center).

A major portion of the day was spent in demonstrations of the current practices in medical response, walking participants through 3 modules of a field hospital (also called an Emergency Treatment Unit or ETU), showing how contaminated waste is stored and overpacked, and how domestic responders, equipment, and ambulances are decontaminated.

In terms of overall medical disasters, applications appear to fall into one of three broad categories below, regrouping the preliminary list of nine functions discussed in an earlier blog.

Clinical:  Clinical applications are where robots are used in the ETU as a “force multiplier” (another way of saying “reducing manpower”) by taking over some of the activities that health workers do or as adding reliability by coaching or supervising activities.

Ignoring for a moment the cultural appropriateness and other adoption issues, robots could enable Logistical: Logistical applications can take place within the ETU, but the construction, layout, and clutter of ETUs make it hard for mobile robots to move around.

Certification

Q: Why did TÜV Rheinland redesign its North American certification marks?A: Our aim is to help our customers achieve success in the global marketplace.

Together, the new mark design adds value to manufacturers’ products and brings consistency and ease-of-recognition to consumers and code officials worldwide.

Q: Who is allowed to use the new marks?A: All TÜV Rheinland clients with valid cTUV, TUVus and cTUVus certificates are eligible to switch to the new marks beginning April 1, 2011 Q: Will existing marks still be valid?A: Yes, the existing cTUV, TUVus and cTUVus marks will continue to be valid.

Q: Can I start using the new marks even if my certificate was issued before April 1, 2011 and shows the “old” marks?A: Clients may update to the new TÜV Rheinland certification mark design at any time.

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