While doing some research for my upcoming delivery, I discovered NOELLE™, the pregnant robot.
NOELLE™ was created in 2006 by Florida-based company Gaumard Scientific and has been increasingly used to train doctors and nurses deal with complications of pregnancy. The high-end model retails for $20,000 and comes equipped with several umbilical cords, dilating devices, vulva (for simulating post partum suturing), and even two robot babies (one birthing baby and one interactive neonate)!
NOELLE™ is controlled via a wireless PC and can simulate various birthing scenarios, including shoulder dystocia and PPH, vertex as well as breech positions, and C-section deliveries…all while producing her own speech and convulsions. The robot smoothly transitions between physiologic states in response to computer commands, and the user can choose from one of the many pre-programmed scenarios or create their own. Last but not least, both NOELLE™ and the baby robot can be monitored using regular hospital equipment.
Take a look at this video of medical students at Johns Hopkins using NOELLE™:
I know that a simulation, even with a robot as advanced as NOELLE™, can never fully replace real-life experience. However, the geeky side of me is fascinated with NOELLE™ and am glad that technology has progressed enough to give doctors/nurses in training access to different scenarios that they may not always come across with real patients.