Aethon’s Robots, Designed to Look like Trains, Bring Food to Hospitalized Kids
'The idea of fashioning the robots to look like toy trains came from a child undergoing treatment for leukemia.'
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Apr 29, 2011

Resembling large toy trains, six robots are delivering meals to patient floors throughout Children’s Hospital Boston. The robots – called TUGs – are provided by Pittsburgh-based Aethon, a leading provider of mobile, self-guided robots to hospitals. TUGs can be found in hospitals across the country, but Children’s Hospital Boston is the first hospital in New England to implement the specially designed “train” version of the robots.

The idea of fashioning the robots to look like toy trains came from a child undergoing treatment for leukemia in San Francisco whose wish was to have his medications delivered by a robot. The local Make-a-Wish Foundation chapter created a connection between the child and Aethon to develop the train-like facade for his robot. The boy helped create the train design and in the process helped Aethon to understand that robots can be about much more than efficiency in hospitals.

The initial launch was such a success, Aethon decided to add the train TUG to its product catalog and make a donation to the San Francisco/Greater Bay Area Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation each time one of them debuts at a hospital anywhere in the country.

“In addition to looking cute and delighting our patients, the TUG robots serve an important role in delivering food to our nursing floors,” said Shawn Goldrick director of patient support services for Children’s Hospital Boston. “Our food service professionals are now able to remain on the floors supporting patients’ food service needs, allowing nurses to spend more time providing hands-on patient care.”

 

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