Remote Access with the Telepresence Robot
by SimGHOSTS President, Ferooz Sekandarpoor
Disclosure - Ferooz Sekandarpoor and SimGHOSTS have no affiliation with Ohmnilabs, this is an unsolicited review.
Image courtesy of Bernard Goldbach (CC BY 2.0)
I recently learned about a new technology that I anticipate is going to be very useful in many settings including medical simulation. The technology is telepresence robots and there is one company that has a different approach that makes this technology attractive to simulation centers.
I am talking about Ohmnilabs, they are a Silicon Valley company, and they are making telepresence robots that you could place it in a remote location and control it from your smartphone or a computer. They are NOT the only company that offers such a tool but this company offers a development platform and kit that allows users to add new features that fit their setup. As an example, users could create or add arms to pick up objects or maybe perform CPR. I think having an open platform to build further is unique here.
The telepresence robots can be utilized in many environments such as:
Families: You could place one of these robots in your parents' home and have the ability to remotely control the Ohmni robot, and video chat with them and follow them around the house. The Ohmni robot needs WiFi access and could dock itself to charge.
Healthcare facilities: Healthcare providers can use Ohmni robot to allow their medical specialists, doctors, nurses to attend their clinics remotely. This will save lots of time and resources to providers while it expands their service accessibilities
Education/School Settings: Ohmni robot could be utilized in a school setting. A medical condition, illness, or alternative event can prevent a student from learning. With the Ohmni robot, the instructor will be able to have an interactive session with the student.
Businesses: Ohmni robot has an excellent application for the business world as well. People working can remote into the robot attend their meetings and communicate with their colleagues. They can talk to their colleagues, move around the office and chat with coworkers.
While the above usages are what the company intended for this technology but I think it will be a useful tool in the simulation settings as well. For example, we may not have always a trained debriefer available for each simulation sessions, using this kind of technology would be great to allow a remote debriefer to follow the learners during scenarios and then follow them into the debriefing room and interact with them. The other scenarios that I would think of is that an instructor could be in a different hospital and still be able to participate with her/his simulation session remotely. Although, this could be also accomplished by Skype or other video conferencing services but this one adds a layer of interactivity for the instructor to be in each simulation setup while being physically away.
The major requirement for operation is connectivity. It can operate on 802.11 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi (5 Ghz highly recommended) and needs internet access with 3Mb speeds (robot and remote user) for best performance.
For more information see the Ohmnilabs website