Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"In my mind I have gone all over the universe, which may make it less important for me to make piddling little trips... I did enjoy seeing Stonehenge. It looked exactly the way I thought it would look."
- Isaac Asimov

Autodoc  
  An automated physician, a fully autonomous surgical robot.  

The autodoc is an early example of a fully automated device that diagnosed, treated and tended a patient. As far as I know, Niven originated this term, and this is the first instance of its use.

Skarwold pushed a switch and Katz’s autodoc sprayed sedative into his lungs. Katz flopped back and began to breath deeply.
Technovelgy from World of Ptavvs, by Larry Niven.
Published by Worlds of Tomorrow in 1965
Additional resources -

Here's a longer quote from World of Ptavvs:

“You know that Doctor Jansky is having his eyes and face replaced at this moment. Also a wide patch of skin on his back, which was taken of almost down to the spinal cord. The others are almost as badly off. Dr. Snyder has no eye damage, but the part of his face that he didn’t cover with his hands is being replaced, and the palms, of his hands, and some skin from his back. Knudsen did have his spinal cord opened, and some ribs too. The autodoc won’t let us wake any of them up, even under police priority, except for Mr. Trimonti. He is being questioned while the ‘doc replaces skull and scalp from the back of his head. He has had a bad shock, and he is under local anesthetic, and you may not disturb him! You may hear the transcription of our interview when we have it."

The term autodoc is probably most associated with Ringworld, which won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards for best novel for Niven.

But they got him into the autodoc anyway. It was a puppeteer-shaped coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself, and bulky Puppeteer surgeons and mechanics must have intended that it should handle any conceivable circumstance. But had they thought of decapitation?

They had. There were two heads in there, and two more with necks attached, and enough organs and body parts to make several complete puppeteers. Grown from Nessus himself, probably; the faces on the heads looked familiar.

Here's how Niven uses it in The Warriors (1966):

"Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs..."

For awhile, Jim Davis was very busy. Everyone, including himself, had a throbbing blinding headache. To each patient, Dr. Davis handed a tiny pink pill from the dispenser slot of the huge autodoc which covered the back wall of the infirmary...

The autodoc also appears in Madness Has Its Place, a 1990 story by Niven. This intriguing story explores the uses of different personalities in society. Are there occasions when you need people who are, well, unbalanced and not very social? Can an automated medical device provide what is needed to keep you balanced - and then unbalance you if needed?

"Something is happening in Aristarchus, something that requires a medic."

"Run it in an autodoc. Ten personality choices. The chemical differences aren't big, but...infantry, which means killing on foot..."

For the most part, expert systems running on computers may make use of data from EEG or other monitors to provide a better visualization of the data for medical staff (see Penn Researchers Develop Smart Intensive Care Unit System Using Advanced Computer Intelligence. Only a few systems actually allow the hardware itself to make an intervention in the patient's care; for example, if a patient's vital signs merit it, additional drugs may be injected intravenously.

Compare to the emergency treatment tank from Agent of Vega (1949) by James Schmitz, the shipboard medical treatment from Contagion (1950) by Katherine MacLean, the Gobathian from Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) by Clifford Simak, the surgical homeostatic unit from Now Wait For Last Year (1966) by Philip K. Dick, the diagnostat from The Man in the Maze (1969) by Robert Silverberg, electronic body analyzer from The Andromeda Strain (1969) by Michael Crichton, the crechepod from The Godmakers (1972) by Frank Herbert and the autosurgeon from Altered Carbon (2003) by Richard Morgan.

See also the phymech robot doctor from Wanted in Surgery (1957) by Harlan Ellison.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from World of Ptavvs
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven
  Tech news articles related to World of Ptavvs
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven

Autodoc-related news articles:
  - ERNIE The Robot Pharmacist - More Accurate Than Humans
  - LSTAT-lite Life Support For Trauma and Transport-lite Demoed
  - Doctor-Bots Play 'Operation'
  - Robot Surgeon - Autonomous Tabletop Robotic Surgery At Duke
  - Shrapnel-Locating Autonomous Robot
  - App Turns iPhone Into Autodoc (Almost)
  - C-Path Computational Pathologist Better Than Doctors
  - AI 'Doctor' System Better Than Human
  - AliveCor App Detects Heart Arrhythmias, Has FDA Approval
  - Sense.ly Virtual Nurse Will See You Soon
  - Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
  - Computer Finds Cancer Doctors Miss
  - Surgery In Space
  - Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
  - iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
  - First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
  - Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
  - Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
  - Are You Ready To Zoom With Dr. ChatGPT?

Articles related to Medical
Illustrating Classic Heinlein With AI
Brainoware Reservoir Computation Of Biological Neural Networks
Forward CarePod The AI Doctor's Office
Octopus Suckers Inspire Transdermal Patches

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Live Stream With Meta-Ban Multimodal Smart Glasses
'...the bug-eyed, opaque gape of her True-Vu lenses.'

'Autonomous' Waymo Improves Driving With Remote Human Operators
'...some bored drone pusher in a remote driving centre has got your life... in his hands.'

Will Whales Be Our First Contact?
'He had piloted the Adastra to its first contact with the civilization of another solar system.'

SliceIt! Why Not Teach Robots To Use Knives?
'One building now gushed forth smoke and another stench that was unmistakable.'

FLOAT Levitating Train On The Moon ala Clarke
'The low-slung monorail car, straddling its single track, bored through the shadows on a slowly rising course.'

Singapore Writers Push Back On LLM Training
'...we've promised him a generous pension from the royalties.'

SpaceX Intros Extravehicular Activity Suit
'Provision had been made to meet the terrific cold which we knew would be encountered the moment we had passed beyond the atmosphere.'

Athena Smart Security Guard Robot With Face Recognition
'You are who we say you are, Dr. Dakin,' Turner said.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.