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For blog posts prior to April 2018, visit our old site. You might also enjoy the ROS blog and the Gazebo blog.

 

 

Taking ROS and Gazebo into healthcare

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As we shared in March, Open Robotics is now operating a research and development office in Singapore. This week, at the 2018 National Health IT Summit, Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong announced our initial project for the Singapore office: the Robotics Middleware Framework (RMF). After Mr. Gan's announcement, our own Brian Gerkey introduced the audience to Open Robotics and explained what we'll be building and why.

As more robotics and automation technologies are introduced to healthcare, interoperability should be front and center for every manufacturer, systems integrator, and end user. No single vendor can supply the breadth of solutions that are required in a modern healthcare facility and no single facility can afford to operate a collection of siloed systems with vendor-specific interfaces.  We need food-delivery robots from one vendor to communicate with drug-delivery robots from another vendor. We need a unified approach to command and control for all the robots in a facility. We need a reliable way to develop and test multi-vendor systems in software simulation prior to deployment. And for it to succeed we need this critical interoperability infrastructure to be open source.

Under the leadership of the Centre for Healthcare Assistive and Robotics Technology (CHART), we are working over the next three years with government and industry partners to develop the Robotics Middleware Framework. In this program we will improve, extend, and scale up ROS and Gazebo to provide a common and open system with which we can interconnect, monitor, command, and simulate the thousands of robots and other devices that are already used in modern hospitals as well as create a scalable system which can support solutions that are not yet designed.

By applying the philosophical and technical approaches that have led to the widespread adoption of ROS and Gazebo in so many other robotics markets, we are excited to bring openness and interoperability to the advanced technology that is poised to change how healthcare is administered.

If you'd like to help us in this effort, remember that we're hiring here in Singapore!

Brian Gerkey