A startup company by the name of Veebot is currently testing a prototype of a robot which is capable of drawing blood. The robot has the potential to choose the best vein at a higher rate than an experienced phlebotomist — the medical technician who draws blood — but is currently on par, finding the best vein about 83 percent of the time. Veebot is hoping to improve this to around 90 percent before even attempting to start any clinical trials.
Veebot’s whole aim behind this project is to automate the process of drawing blood as well as that of inserting IVs. They are going about this through the use of their robot which makes use of a special camera and ultrasound as well as infrared and an image-analysis software. The robot utilizes this technology in order to locate the best possible vein and then works its magic.
First the patient places their arm through an archway after which a cuff is tightened around their arm in order to restrict blood flow, consequently making their veins easier to locate. The infrared light is then used in conjunction with the camera in order to scan for veins after which the image-analysis software matches what is seen by the camera with a built in library of vein anatomy in order to select a possible suitable vein. Ultrasound is then utilized to confirm that the vein chosen by the software is indeed the best vein and the robot then aligns itself accordingly and inserts the needle into the vein at the required depth. All of this takes place in about a minute or so with the only human intervention coming about when a technician attaches either a suitable test tube or IV bag to the robot.
The selling point of Veebot will be it’s potential to make the blood draw process safer, faster and more accurate and would be a huge time and effort saver in drugs trials where massive numbers of blood draws need to be carried out.
Creepy or not creepy? Either way, take a look at the robot in action below and let us know what you think in the comments below.