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Robot Nurse to Help Labor and Delivery Hospitals

Would You Let a Robot Help Deliver Your Baby?

Most women aren't just happy with the technological advancements that have aided in labor and delivery — they demand them. But what if the next big innovation in childbirth is delivering a baby with the help of . . . a robot?

According to findings from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, what was once relegated to sci-fi movies could play a vital role in future labor wards.

In a video produced by CNN, you can see one such robot assisting doctors and nurses with everything from understanding patients' needs to making scheduling decisions. This role of "resource nurse," in which one person is in charge of assigning all the other nurses to care for patients, is complicated not only because it requires quick, effective decision-making but because it occurs in a stressful, often unpredictable setting.

"It is really one person making these decisions," MIT professor Julie Shah said. "It's a very complex environment and a very hard job."

A job perhaps best suited for a robot.

The MIT study involved a Nao robot at an actual hospital, in which the residing resource nurse coordinates 10 nurses, 20 patients, and 20 rooms all at the same time. Nine out of 10 times, the robot made suggestions that doctors and nurses implemented, the study noted.

Although Shah is "looking to scale this," they first need to expand research to more hospitals. "This is a safety critical domain, so we're making sure we take measured steps."

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