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Robot to help doctors work remotely

March 5, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
telepresence_robot_helps_doctors.jpgMarch 5, 2012 by Josephine Price via -- A robot will soon help doctors at one hospital check on patients.

Called the Telepresence Puppet, it could let doctors interact with their patients without having to be physically present.

A doctor can guide the robot, which runs on wheels, to the patient and communicate with him through the machine.

The doctor can see and hear the patient using the robot's camera and microphone, and the patient can see and listen to the doctor through the robot's screen and speakers.

These and other uses of the robot will be tested out in a pilot run by home-grown start-up Ctrl Works at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital next month.

Mr Sim Kai, chief executive of Ctrl Works, said innovations like the robot have been developed here in recent years "as the ratio of doctors to the general population is getting smaller".

There are now 1.7 doctors for every 1,000 patients here, which is low compared to the ratios in Europe and North America, according to a Straits Times report published in November last year.

The Telepresence Puppet will be tested at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for one month. Different departments will try it out, and give feedback on its potential uses.

Though the robot's price was not disclosed, Ctrl Works said it will be affordable and comparable to the cost of other commercial information-technology and audio-visual equipment.

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