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Diligent Robotics – Building Robots That Assist Hospital Staff with Routine Activities

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Robots are everywhere from science fiction to your local hospital, where they are changing healthcare. For the most part, these robots resemble R2D2 from Star Wars more than they do a humanoid, but they are making a big impact in the field of medicine. Robots in medicine help by relieving medical personnel from routine tasks that take their time away from more pressing responsibilities and by making medical procedures safer and less costly for patients. They can also perform accurate surgery in tiny places and transport dangerous substances. Robotic medical assistants monitor patient vital statistics and alert the nurses when there is a need for a human presence in the room, allowing nurses to monitor several patients at once. These robotic assistants also automatically enter information into the patient electronic health record. Robotic carts may be seen moving through hospital corridors carrying supplies. Robots are also assisting in surgery, allowing doctors to conduct surgery through as tiny incision instead of an inches-long incision. Robotics is making a big impact in other areas of medicine, as well.

Diligent Robotics is one such company which is a pioneer in the field of robotics. The firm is creating robot assistants that help people with chores so people can focus on work they care most about. With a founding team of social robotics experts, the robots feature mobile manipulation, social intelligence, and human-guided learning capabilities. Moxi is their hospital robot assistant that helps clinical staff with non-patient-facing tasks so they have more time for patient care.

Q. Why hospitals require robot assistants?

  • Improved efficiency and consistency of care
  • Helps the staff members to perform at the top of their license
  • Due to increased demand for nurses: 2.7M (2014), 3.2M (2024)
  • Bedside nurse turnover rate is 16.8%, close to a quarter (23.8%) of new hires leave within a year
  • Nurses spend up to 30% of their time on non-value added tasks

Meet Moxi, the Cyborg

Moxi is the hospital robot assistant that helps clinical staff with non-patient-facing tasks like gathering supplies and bringing them to patient rooms, delivering lab samples, fetching items from a central supply, and removing soiled linen bags. Automation helps hospitals maintain consistent care workflows and gives staff more time for patient care. No infrastructure buildout, just digital learnings connected over your existing Wi-Fi, implementing Moxi is simpler than you think, and the company will be there to guide you through every step of set-up, automation and implementation. Designed to be compatible with the busy, semi-structured environments of hospitals, Moxi’s core technical features include:

Social intelligence: opens elevators and doors on its own, won’t bump into people or objects in hallways, happily poses for selfies

Mobile manipulation: Moxi can grab, pull, open and guide objects, with no human assistance

Human-guided learning: The more your staff uses Moxi, the more Moxi learns and adapts to your environment and way of doing things

Moxi continuously adapts to changing hospital workflows by learning from human teachers along the way. As COVID-19 continues to change hospital environments, Moxi's workflows adapt to deliver PPE or lab samples where and when they're needed, supporting frontline workers.

The Standout Countenance of Moxi

Dexterity + mobility = autonomy

With an arm to reach, gripper to pick up objects and mobile base to move, Moxi completes tasks end-to-end without help. In robot-world lingo, which is called “mobile-manipulation.”

The Visionary Leader Upfront

Andrea Thomaz is a co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Diligent Robotics and a renowned social robotics expert. Her accolades include being recognized by the National Academy of Science as a Kavli Fellow, the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Tech, MIT Technology Review on its Next Generation of 35 Innovators Under 35 list, Popular Science on its Brilliant 10 list, TEDx as a featured keynote speaker on social robotics and Texas Monthly on its Most Powerful Texans of 2018 list. Andrea’s robots have been featured in the New York Times and on the covers of MIT Technology Review and Popular Science. Her passion for social robotics began during her work at the MIT Media Lab, where she focused on using AI to develop machines that address everyday human needs. Andrea co-founded Diligent Robotics to pursue her vision of creating socially intelligent robot assistants that collaborate with humans by doing their chores so humans can have more time for the work they care most about.

Ms. Thomaz earned her Ph.D. from MIT and B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UT Austin and is a Robotics Professor at UT Austin and the PI of the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab.

“Moxi, our first robot teammate in the field today, works in hospitals to help clinical staff with non-patient-facing tasks so they have more time for patient care.”