The FCC approves consumer electronics devices for the masses, but what about the FDA? Well, they make sure that all things medical are fit for public service, and the latest candidate to gain approval from this regulatory board is the first robot doctor developed by iRobot. Wait a minute here, doesn’t iRobot churn out Roombas? Yup, that is correct, and the robot doctor in question here is the RP-VITA that comes in the form of a telepresence robot. It will rely on a large display with an iPad interface to enable a doctor to examine a patient remotely, and it works swell in pre-op and post-op situations, not to mention during surgery as well.
This FDA clearance is significant, since it proves that a robot is able to move about safely and independently through a fast-paced, chaotic and demanding hospital , and would also mark a rather significant technological milestone for the robotics and healthcare industries.
The RP-VITA is currently on sale by InTouch Health, where it will fall under the guise of the company’s latest flagship remote presence device. iRobot has plans to explore adjacent market opportunities for similar robots, and we do wonder what other kinds of medical robots are on their way. Perhaps those in the operating theater that fixed up Darth Vader in his menacing suit? [Press Release]