Duke develops robotic nurse to reduce contact with infectious disease

Duke Pratt School of Engineering and Duke School of Nursing, both located in Durham, N.C., are collaborating to develop Trina, a mechanical robot nurse, according to The News & Observer.

Trina, which stands for Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant, is a remote-controlled robot, whose development is funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Duke University began working on the robot roughly a year-and-a-half ago, according to The News & Observer. Trina, now in its first generation, can move linens, take vital signs and delivering medications to patients.

The ultimate goal is to use robots like Trina to interact with highly infectious patients, in an effort to decrease human contact and to reduce risks for nurses and physicians. As an example, Duke officials note the role robotic nurses could have played during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

Moving forward, the developers are hoping to make the next generation of robotic nurses more personable, to look more friendly and human-like for patient comfort. “We need to establish a better interface with the human and the robot to make them work together and be more comfortable,” Jianqiao Li, an engineering student, told The News & Observer.

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