InTouch Health, a big name in telemedicine devices, and iRobot, the famous maker of robotic Roomba vacuums and battlefield robots, have teamed up to bring their respective expertise together in building a single device, the RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant).
InTouch supplied the telemedicine part and iRobot developed the motion and navigation aspects of the RP-VITA, which uses sensors and smart algorithms to help a physician move through a hospital’s complicated terrain. There’s even talk of a “single click” feature to be approved by the FDA that seems to allow the RP-VITA to autonomously navigate between patients in a hospital that the remote physician might not even know the topography of.
New features introduced in the RP-VITA from the announcement:
- An enhanced navigation capability that enables the RP-VITA to better manage driving and navigation elements so the health care professional can put more focus on patient care tasks. State‐of‐the-art mapping and Obstacle Detection Obstacle Avoidance (ODOA) technologies allow safe, fast and highly flexible navigation in a clinical environment.
- An additional capability for the RP-VITA incorporates autonomous navigation and is being submitted to the FDA for 510(k) clearance. This capability will allow a remote clinician or bedside nurse to send the RP-VITA to a target destination with a single click, enabling a number of breakthrough clinical applications. InTouch Health anticipates clearance for this feature in Q4 2012.
- Real-time access to important clinical data, enabling a range of new workflow improvements for physicians, nurses and other patient care team members. For example, the RP-VITA can be integrated with live patient data from the electronic medical record and is equipped with the ability to connect with diagnostic devices such as otoscopes and ultrasound. It comes equipped with the latest electronic stethoscope.
- A new, simple to use iPad user interface will enable quick and easy navigation to anywhere the RP-VITA needs to go, as well as interaction with the patient, family and care team.