Introduction: The intravenous (IV) route is the fastest way to distribute fluids and medications to the body. If you walk into almost any hospital room you will see the patient connected to an IV drip. This technology has been used heavily in hospitals around the world for many years and is essential in the betterment of the patient’s health. One part of this technology that is often left unnoticed is the stand that goes along with it. Whenever a patient needs to get up and move around, whether it is to use the restroom or simply to walk around the floor, the stand must be pulled behind them. Mobility is important in healing – the human body is built to move and the current design of the IV stand prevents maximum mobility. This is especially true for pediatric patients. A child learns and develops from exploration. If a child is in the hospital for a long period of time they lose the ability to develop as a healthy child would. I have developed an idea for a new IV stand that will allow for increased mobility of the patient.

Methods: In order to create a new IV stand I used existing technologies and applied them to the current design. This new IV stand would be able to move without being physically pulled or pushed. Similar to the self-driving car or robot vacuum cleaner, it would use sensors to detect objects and move around them. These built-in sensors would also allow for the stand to create a map of the floor so it can plan ahead as the patient moves around. Another important piece of information is the patient. The stand would be able to collapse depending on the patient’s height. When the patient is shorter or closer to the ground the pole would decrease in height which in turn makes the stand more stable. Patients frequently trip on the IV stand. This technology would be able to detect how far away the patient is from the base of the stand and move to avoid the patient’s feet.

Results: In progress

Conclusion: This new design of the current IV stand uses autonomous functionality to move with the patient. I believe that this technology would be useful for patients that are in the hospital for a prolonged stay, such as oncology patients, or for pediatric patients. The ability of the stand to detect and learn about its environment would increase the amount of mobility a patient has and make moving around less of a burden.

ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY & VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

Author: Lauren Birch

Status: Work In Progress