Timothy Wright, Vice-President of Marketing and
Steve Jordan, Executive Vice-President of Research
& Development, In Touch Health.
The robot’s display head can pan/tilt like a
human head, giving the robot a human-like
appearance and the doctor a panoramic view of
the robot’s surroundings.
Prior to RP robots, doctors effected
telemedicine via video-conferencing. In this case,
the patient had to be brought into the video-conferencing room which was time-consuming,
discomforting, and inconvenient.
The mobile RP robot system works anywhere
broadband is available and is a great improvement
over the immobility of video-conferencing. The
robot has antennae that signal to 802.11 wireless
networks. The system communicates back and
forth using TCP and UDP packets across the TCP/IP
network. The technology’s data traverses ports
9000 through 9101 which must be open on the
firewall. If the robots are behind firewalls, the
technology requires that at least the HTTPS port
443 be open.
For the system to function ideally, bandwidth
should be 600 kbps or higher in both directions.
Network latency or delay should not rise above
300 ms. Packet loss must be minimal.
The technology encrypts data using
RSA and 128-bit AES encryption.
Systems use the TrendMicro
OfficeScan technology to scan for
patient, and effect clinical intervention
immediately from a distance.
In Touch Health has several iterations of the RP
robot. The RP Lite is the same as the standard
model, but a nurse must push it into the patient’s
room. This model is less expensive and has a
somewhat lower level of interaction due to its lack
of self-locomotion. “If the setting is a small
hospital where they don’t anticipate the doctor
having to move around much, this robot will
suffice,” says Wright.
There is also an RP robot alternative that is
mounted on a boom so that it can be moved into
place over a patient during surgery. Another
model is cart-mounted for procedure rooms.
The technology works over the Internet
and the hospital’s existing network infrastructure
so that all the doctor really needs from In Touch
Health is the company’s hardware and software.
Additionally, the company has placed special
servers out on the Internet backbone to help
broker connections between the site the doctor
is at and the site where the robot is. The
servers enable a peer-to-peer connection. This
is especially helpful if either or both sites are
RP Models and
Doctors can ambulate to the
patient’s bedside, talk to nurses,
basically behave the same as if they
were actually there, notes Wright.
This facility is important in emergency
rooms where a specialist is required
but very few are available, sometimes
for entire regions. “The patient may
have had a stroke, for example. The
ER doctor may not be a stroke expert
but can call for the neurologist,”
explains Wright. The neurologist can
log in to a robot remotely, see the
This is one of the telemedicine robots
with the doctor’s image viewable in the
screen, and the camera and microphone
at top to transmit images and sounds
for the doctor to see and hear. A
speaker in the body of the robot
projects the doctor’s voice to the
SERVO 06.2010 11
This robot has
to be pushed
around by a
so is a lower
cost model than