Engineering students from Fr Conceicao Rodrigues College of Engineering (CRCE), Mumbai, have developed a robot whose job is essentially to be a moving vending machine stocked with prescriptions and medications for patients. They have named the invention the Medibot and believe it could be the answer in delivering life-saving medications to patients in need, meaning doctors and nurses can tend to other patients.
The Medibot can travel through a hospital ward going from bed to bed delivering the medication needed for a specific patient. Patients would have to be equipped with an RIFD tag (radio-frequency identification) that they would scan against the Medibot who could then release their medicine and the quantity needed for that time. Obviously any kinks would have to be seriously ironed out for the Medibot to become standard practice, ensuring a 100% success rate on delivering the right order to the right patient at the right time.
According to the students who engineered the project they believe it will save both time and resources in hospitals worldwide and will enable patients to be more self-reliant. Medibot was crowned the most innovative solution at e-Yantra, an annual robotics competition held by the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay.
Competitions such as this allow engineering students to remain focused on something they really want to achieve; ensuring they go beyond textbook learning and use initiative to aim their expertise at addressing real world issues enables student engineers to have the chance to make a real difference to everyday life. 22,000 students participated in the competition in 2016 and the numbers are expected to grow each year, with each competition bringing with it the best from the minds of the next generation engineers.
Medibot comes with controversy until that 100% success rate comes with it which as of yet has not been tested on a large enough scale. People also have trouble with the complexity of ethics, if a patient is terminally ill robot over human contact may be seen as putting efficiency over empathy. Either way time will tell what is in store for the future of the Medibot but these student engineers have certainly made a breakthrough for aiding medical science!