Friday, January 05, 2007

Noelle the robot that gives birth

Noelle is a $20,000 robot purchased by South Korea from the United States, to help their medical doctors practice bringing babies into the world. From Reuters:
Students regularly crowd around Noelle as she gives "birth." They take turns at monitoring her vital signs and at pulling the "baby" out of her body.

The newborn, also a robot, is equipped with lights on its hands and cheeks to indicate its health -- blue lights mean problems while pink lights signal all is ok.

Students say using Noelle is more useful than sitting in a classroom and taking notes.

"I think it's more helpful to have delivery training on a life-like mannequin than studying with books or lectures before treating my first live patient," said student Woon Jin-kwang.

Professor Jung said South Korea's consistently decreasing birth-rate gave her students fewer chances to watch and practice delivering babies, making Noelle's presence necessary.

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