By John Chattaway, MD Anderson Staff Writer
Part II of Monday's post- Short Circuit: MD Anderson Robots Provide Safety in the 21st Century
"Autobots, roll out!"... and into the next lab
"I am a robot."
If you've traveled Floor 4 of the Main Building, you may have heard those words spoken by "Tess," the Swisslog SpeciMinder used by Laboratory Medicine to transport specimen batches between labs.
The robot is on loan from Swisslog while Pathology and Laboratory Medicine determines if it's a technology we want to invest in.
Laboratory Medicine technicians have a button or "bell" they push to call Tess. The robot has a pre-programmed map of our facility that it uses, along with external sensors, to find its way to the technician. Once Tess arrives, the technician loads specimen batches into it and tells it where to go.
Once Tess delivers the specimens to the required destination, if that destination has nothing to send, Tess returns to a docking station in the central specimen processing area.
"Tess minimizes the need for manual transport of specimen batches between labs. This enables our lab employees to stay focused on high value and patient-oriented work," says Lila Pulido, director, Pathology/Laboratory Medicine Operations. "It's also fun because you can program what Tess can say. I once heard it say, 'Sorry, I haven't had my morning coffee,' when it bumped into a wall."
Don't be fooled by Tess's simple, R2-D2-like appearance. The robot can hold up to 150 tubes of blood and a bag of microbiology specimens, or up to 50 pounds of cargo.
These are the droids you're looking for
While our robots don't travel through time or space, or morph into cars, they help make our operations more efficient.
So don't go poking the nearest doctor, checking for mechanical parts. We don't have androids working in the hospital ... yet.
The Robots of MD Anderson (video)
Short Circuit: MD Anderson Robots Provide Safety in the 21st Century