How a robot baby is transforming the healthcare industry

Gaumard Scientific's robotic neonatal simulator Super Tory is helping healthcare professionals better train and prepare to treat babies.

Video: The world's most advanced robotic neonatal simulator

Healthcare is experiencing rapid digital transformation thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, the cloud, and now, robotic simulators.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with Jim Archetto, vice president of Gaumard Scientific, to discuss the company's robotic neonatal simulator Super Tory, and how it's being used to advance healthcare.

Super Tory is an 8-pound training baby that is battery operated, and controlled by a Surface Pro. She is used in hospitals by EMTs, first responders, and other healthcare professionals as a training tool.

The robotic baby can simulate crying, blinking and breathing, but can also simulate more serious conditions like asthma, pneumonia and choking. For example, just as a real baby's skin starts to turn red as they get agitated, Super Tory's exterior turns red as well.

"It's all designed to create that realistic learning environment so learners can really begin to understand," Archetto said.

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Every action that is performed on the baby is recorded through sensors, so users can measure metrics like how long it took for first responders to get to the room, how many attempts it took to perform the correct procedure, and the amount of time it took to treat Super Tory.

The developers behind the robotic simulator also created a user interface on the Surface Pro that allows doctors or first responders to change any of the physical components of the baby, or add any other conditions a physician would experience in a normal clinic. "It takes not just the coding, but understanding anatomically and physiologically what a patient would be doing at that time and incorporating all that together," Archetto said.

A few years ago, this simulator couldn't have existed, as the technology was not adequate, Archetto added. Today, the technology that powers Super Tory is more reliable, smaller in size, and can control all of the tiny components that make up the baby.

"[Nursing students] can learn exactly what they need to do without worrying about injuring a live patient. These babies are fragile, but you'd rather have someone practice on an 8-pound simulator," he said.

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Image: iStock/bmadran