Robotic Dog, Cat For Cornell Sim-Based Veterinarian Hospital

Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine is creating the model for future simulation-based veterinary learning. Their new simulation center will feature a "newly released" robotic cat and two robotic dogs.

(A diseased robotic dog awaits examination)

Cornell’s new simulation center grants space dedicated exclusively to simulation-based learning. It occupies a four-room suite in the College’s former pathology wing, including two fully equipped exam rooms, two rooms for live video-feed observation and debriefing, and space for storage and developing new models, like a newly released robotic cat and a second more-advanced dog.

“Simulations like this have been used to teach human doctors for decades,” said Fletcher, assistant professor of emergency and critical care (ECC). “The idea is to bridge preclinical lecture learning and actual clinical experience, letting students practice applying what they’ve learned in a safe setting before the stakes get high.The new center gives us much more room to work with.”

In the ten-minute simulations, a small student team enters the exam room, collects basic patient info from the robotic dog or cat, assesses, plans, and treats. They can use a full crash cart, medical supplies, defibrillator, and other tools to take the robo-pet’s pulse, listen to heart and lung sounds, insert catheters, and hook up monitoring devices to get feedback orchestrated through Fletcher’s software.

Fletcher has brought his robo-dog to schools across the country and world. He is now building a more advanced model code-named “Butch.” Butch will run with inexpensive, off-the-shelf electronic components and sports a more realistic airway, a soft abdomen compartment, articulating joints, more areas for catheters, more space inside the body and a more realistic overall feel.

Philip K. Dick visualized all of this for readers of his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. In the story, most of Earth's animals had died and citizens consoled themselves with autonomous robotic animals. These ersatz pets were so realistic that they had disease circuits so that, when broken or in need of repair, they would continue to masquerade as pets:

The electric mechanism, within its compellingly authentic-style gray pelt, gurgled and blew bubbles, its vileness glassy, its metal jaws locked together. This had always amazed him, these "disease" circuits built into false animals; the construct which he now held on his lap had been put together in such a fashion that when a primary component misfired, the whole thing appeared - not broken - but organically ill.

The robotic animals would even go to a special "pet hospital" for the "treatment" of autonomous robotic animals used as pets.

I wonder who repairs Cornell's ersatz pets?

From Cornell via

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