Veebot Robotic Blood Drawing ala Andromeda Strain

Veebot is a Mountain View startup; they're hoping to automate drawing blood and inserting IVs by combining robotics with image-analysis software.


(Veebot blood drawing robot)

To use the Veebot system, a patient puts his or her arm through an archway over a padded table. Inside the archway, an inflatable cuff tightens around the arm, holding it in place and restricting blood flow to make the veins easier to see. An infrared light illuminates the inner elbow for a camera; software matches the cameraís view against a model of vein anatomy and selects a likely vein.

The vein is examined with ultrasound to confirm that itís large enough and has sufficient blood flowing through it. The robot then aligns the needle and sticks it in. The whole process takes about a minute, and the only thing the technician has to do is attach the appropriate test tube or IV bag.

Fans of writer Michael Crichton will recognize the automatic vein finder from his 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain. Crichton was himself a medical doctor.

The device was able to insert intravenous needles, finding veins easily.

"Place your hand on the board to the left. Do not move. You will feel a slight prick as the intravenous needle is inserted."

Hall looked over at the screen. It flashed a color image of his hand, with the veins showing in a pattern of green against a blue background. Obviously the machine worked by sensing heat. He was about to protest when he felt a brief sting.

He looked back. The needle was in.

Via Spectrum IEEE snd Veebot

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