MIT Develops Robot Nurse to Aid in the Maternity Ward

The team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of learning human behavior and interpreting the data to perform basic scheduling tasks and provide decision making support to nurses and doctors in the labor ward and delivery room. By using the NAO robot, developed by Softbanks Robotics, CSAIL demonstrated the AI capabilities at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts where 90% of recommendations were accepted by nurses and physicians.

In a two-year study described in the paper, Robotic Assistance in Coordination of Patient Care, a robotic nurse named Ginger was put to task in the role of ‘resource nurse’ to learn, understand, and make complex decisions in a fast-paced environment that requires the coordination of multiple actions and resource allocations. The robot used learning behavior demonstration techniques and pre-programmed computer algorithms to evaluate the needs of the maternity ward, including room assignments and staff requirements, and provided and received feedback via speech recognition.

The aim of the work was to develop artificial intelligence that can learn from people about how the labor and delivery unit works, so that robots can better anticipate how to be helpful or when to stay out of the way — and maybe even help by collaborating in making challenging decisions.

Julie Shah, Professor and Senior Author, MIT

Now that CSAIL’s AI has been proven to schedule tasks and coordinate resources in the labor ward, it is also being put to task in military applications as described in a recent study, Apprenticeship Scheduling: Learning to Schedule from Human Experts. The studies prove that the technology can serve as an effective training tool or decision making tool without impacting the need for human oversight.


References: MIT

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