A while ago I accompanied my 14 months old daughter to the hospital for a required checkup. Beside some other examinations, the doctor measured her pulse rate at rest with a finger clip photoplethysmograph. The (in her eyes) strange looking apparatus, the beeping at every heartbeat and probably also the finger clip scared her and she started to cry. Ugh.
In this moment I thought: Why - especially for infants and children - medical devices look and behave like medical devices? It would be so much cooler, if the devices would look like funny robots, and the kids have fun during the examination, checking out the robot and maybe forgetting totally, that the robot is just examining them. With this idea in my head we went home and on the next day, I started to design a heartbeat monitor robot for kids.
Although there are a variety of medical robots in sf, I thought of the electronic body analyzer that I read about in Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain in 1969 first.
...the electronic body analyzer had been developed by Sandeman Industries in 1965, under a general government contract to produce body monitors for astronauts in space. It was understood by the government at that time that such a device, though expensive at a cost of $87,000 each, would eventually replace the human physician as a diagnostic instrument.