Let's Make Robots!

The Doctor's Robotic Assistant!--THE MEDIBOT!

Hello, LMR!


I've been thinking about my research project for this summer for the Authentic Science Research course that I participate in, and I've had some ideas for what I might be accomplishing.  **NOTE**--this is currently just an idea, so nothing on this is final yet.  When it is, you will know.

What I want to build is an autonomous Doctors assistant (no not a nurse--it won't be drawing blood or taking other samples) that takes many pieces of data from a patient, and then stores them in a file and reports its findings back to the doctor, and to a large database.


The robot will be about 5 to 6 feet tall, containing all of the following components:

1) A base that either uses tank treads or mecanum wheels, which ever is easiest to guide the robot around

2) On top of the base, a digital scale that weighs the patient once they step on it.  The weight is sent as an double to the main proccesing unit

3) Hand rails and steps to assist elderly onto the robot

4) A long pole that on the top, contains a monitor that tells the patient what to do, and also tilts up and down depending on the users height (autonomously)

5) IR sensors on another pole that measures the patients height.  The sensors will detect whether the patient is standing in front of the robot or not, and will find the top of the patients head.  It will only have to move a few feet to match the minimum and maximum height (maybe 4 and a half feet to 6 and a half feet).  Possible ways the IR sensors will move:

       A) The whole pole will move up and down using either a servo or stepper motor.

       B) The very top IR sensor will move up and down by a motorized slide potentiometer.  The IR sensor will be connected to the actual piece that moves up and down on the pot.  This would be mounted vertically if I hadn't been specific enough.

6) A blood pressure sensor, heart rate sensor, and any other important sensor to get basic information from patient.  All data will go back to the main processing unit

7) 3 LED's on the very top to tell whether the assistant is busy, waiting a task, or having an error

8) On the monitor, instructions for the patient will be displayed to get weight, height, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.  Then, questions will be displayed for the patient to answer.  These will be questions regarding any sickness, concerns, health changes, etc.  They will be basic yes or no, and if needed, an "other" box will be provided to allow the user to enter additional information

9) Either a key board and mouse will be on a small platform for the patient to answer the questions or the monitor will be touch screen.  If the monitor is choosen to be touchscreen, then the "other" box will turn into a "need to discuss with doctor" box

10) The bot will also either be communicating with the main database through wireless technology such as Xbee or bluetooth.  If not for that, the robot will submit its data back to a main desk either by plugging itself into a computer or by storring data on a flashdrive, then giving it to someone to put in the system

11) An RFID scanner (this also may be accomplished through a wireless network) to check for any rooms that have patients in them that need to be preped and taken data from.  Robot should consitantly be checking to see if new rooms are active

12) A third IR sensor, this one medium to long range, to make sure it isn't about to hit into anything

13) Motor (with encoder) for wheels to drive robot

14) Battery to supply power to the robot

15) Battery survalence system to check batteries charge.  When needed, the bot will report back to docking station to charge

16) Main processing unit, possibly a Raspberry Pi for its open ended possibilities.  The Pi will be running the program in Python to get data from patients


This robot will (hopefully) be open source, unless that becomes a problem with my mentor where she thinks it shouldn't be.  Either way, I will keep everyone updated on my progress.


This robot is currently just an idea.  It may be excecuted, or it may not be.  Either way, I plan on one day completing this task.


If you have any feedback at all, please let me know and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.  I'm also open to any suggestions.  Every bit of feedback is helpful.  If I'm missing anything that might be important, also please let me know.


Thanks a bunch guys and I can't wait to (hopefully) get started!  Basic designs are soon to come.


Here is the first very basic sketch

First design




Edit as of 2-26-13


Hey guys, here with an update--

Discussed the project with my teachers, and I'm going to simplify it a little bit.  First, it will be stationary.  That saves me a lot of coding.  Secondly, to measure one's height, and IR or some sort of proximity sensor will be mounted about 7 feet above the ground, and will measure the distance between the patients height and where they are standing.  Seems like a much more logical idea.  Also, probably the most important, is the discovery of this: http://www.cooking-hacks.com/index.php/documentation/tutorials/ehealth-biometric-sensor-platform-arduino-raspberry-pi-medical

I cannot tell you how many hours that will save me.  The only problem, is that their blood pressure sensor is currently retired, but is said to come back in stock sometime soon.

Lastly, if you'd be so kind, please read the attached document which describes the robot and the study I will be completing.  After reading it, from an engineer's and a regular civillian standpoint, can you inform me of any "holes" that the project might have?  Any missing element needs to be found.  If there's anything that you think I need to include, please inform me!

Thanks again!



Hello again friends!!

I'm back, and I realized that I kinda left on a cliffhanger here....So I've been actually working on the robot and this whole study and I forgot to update everyone.....I'm currently building and coding the robot, and just finishing my methods for how i'm going to completet my study.  I'll update everyone hopefully after school ends, but by that time the whole project will probably be finished.  I look forward to getting feedback!

Check back soon for updates!!

See ya!



Well it's been a while since I've updated this again, so here goes--



Soon to be entering my senior year of high school at 17 years old, I'm hitting the point this summer where I'm thinking "Crap--I should probably compile all of my data from the MediBot before school starts and I need to submit a paper to Intel..."

So now, just a basic update, I'm taking all of the data received from my MediBot and running statistical analysis.  I probably never explained the study too well, but I promise when I'm done with the data, I'll submit the robot and my findings.  Back to work!


If you have any questions or anything you want to say, please feel free to contact me.  Also, I may become lazy so please contact me if it seems like i'm taking too long.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! (For those in the northern hemisphere)

MediBot.txt6.49 KB

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Not sure if that sensor platform is available and for how much money. Building it yourself might be more work, but it would be cheaper, I bet.

Your doctor's-assistant should incorporate a seat for the patient. Some patients may need to sit because they are wheel-chair bound, but also when taking blood-pressure it is common to do so seated, so they get an "at rest" reading form everyone.


The link towards the bottom of the current update goes to the website with the sensor platform!  That's where I got lucky!  And yes, a seat is a good idea....But how would I get their height?  I'm going to aim to use this in a pediatrition's office, so their shouldn't be many wheel-chair bound patients.  Thanks for the feedback!

If they are wheel-chair bound, you would not be able to get the height in this fashion. The nurse or aide would either have to ask them and punch it in, or help them to stand for a moment while the measure was taken.

Oh, you mentioned metal for the unit. Remember that for medical use, that must be stainless steel.


Well, I'll include the chair in later versions---this is technically the first prototype so I don't plan on putting this straight into any pediatrician's offices--only for testing :-)


how come it has to be stainless steel?  Would it smarter to use a finished wood or stainless steel?  Which stays cleaner?  I would guess stainless steel because wood has pores....but I'm not sure

Ok, this depends on "where" you want to have wood or metal.  What I meant was that IF you are using metal someplace, they want stainless. This has to do with all the germicidal clean-up which they do daily on anything that is touched by patients.  It is less likely to rust, or be toxic to people with odd allergies and such.

There are plastics which are allowed as well.

Use of wood is questionable, depending on where it is used, because it is porous and can harbour germs.

■ Now remember I am NOT a medical doctor (My doctorate is in physics) so I am only relating things I have picked up on. Mostly just want you to do sufficient research on such things so they would pass any medical requirements. I understand you are wanting to sell this to the medical profession.

In selecting materials, I would say, think of a patient with a communicable disease being weighed and tested, followed by another patient who might pick up the germs. Porous materials could be a no-no.



You have set quite a task for yourself here. Good luck!

thanks!!  I'll be sure to post updates as things progress!

First basic to be posted very soon!