Just call him R2-MD2.
The newest employee at the Regina General Hospital isn’t your average worker. This worker has a screen for a face, a high-definition camera for eyes and a speaker and microphone for a mouth.
Its name is PeTIr (pronounced Peter) and it’s a medical robot.
“In my mind, this technology is unstoppable,” said Dr. Ivar Mendez, the unified head of the department of surgery for the University of Saskatchewan.
Mendez simply logged on to a website and was able to control and drive PeTIr around during a demonstration at the hospital. He explained how a device like this lets doctors connect with patients in remote areas of the province, such as up north.
“Where the impact is going to be the greatest is going to be in communities that lack access to health care.”
PeTIr is equipped with stethoscopes and ultrasounds, letting a doctor listen to the heart or see an unborn baby without actually physically being next to a patient. The camera is so good it can clearly see the pupil of the eye. The robot can even print off prescriptions.
“In the future we will be using this technology for all types of medical care throughout not only our province, the country and the world.”
Mendez said Saskatchewan has four of these devices, used for both primary care and neurosurgery. It’s the only region in Canada that has and is using this sort of technology.
“I am proud that our province is at the national and international forefront of implementing this technology.”
A total of $220,000 from the Hospitals of Regina Foundation donor Partner Technologies Incorporated helped bring PeTIr to life.