Over My Dead Body: A Medical Blood-Drawing Robot

July 29, 2013


Seen here with a face that clearly spells regret in every language, a man has blood drawn by Veebot, a blood-drawing robot. 'So, we're going to strap your arm down using a clamp then let this needle-wielding robot stab at you -- cool?' Wait, I, uh, I think I left my health insurance card in the car. *RUNS HOME FOREVER*

The goal is to automate both blood draws and IV insertions to make the process even more standard, and reduce complications. The robot has a tourniquet similar to a blood pressure cuff to make a patients' veins more prominent. It uses infrared light, a special camera and ultrasound combined with image-analysis software to choose a vein and confirm that enough blood is flowing through it. Then the robot lines up the needle and inserts it into the arm at the calculated correct depth. The whole draw takes about a minute plus additional time depending on how much blood is being collected.

Currently Veebot chooses the best vein about 83 percent of the time, which is on par with the average phlebotomist.

Admittedly, choosing the best vein 83 percent of the time sounds pretty good until you realize the other 17 percent of the time it killed the person. 'Blood Drawing Deaths up 10,000%' the headline will read. Then, under that, 'Naked Man Arrested Trying To Break Into Natural History Museum After Hours'.

Hit the jump for an instructional video.

Thanks to Mel, trophy husband, Pyrblaze and Rebecca, who would rather stab themselves with a knife and catch the blood in bucket. Seriously, same.

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