Ever wondered how medical students practise prostate examinations? Probably not, but read on to find out.
Medical students now get to learn "professional intimacy" with Patrick, the robot bum.
'Patrick' delivers instant feedback to students about the prostate exam they're giving him. He has four sensors to let them know if the pressure is too soft or they haven't covered the whole prostate.
Patrick is the result of four years' work from a joint team at the University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, and Drexel University. The new technology is also being used to help students hone their skills at performing breast examinations.
“Our goal is to get students more comfortable with these mortifying scenarios,” Dr Benjamin Lok, the professor who leads the research, told Future of You.
“There aren’t enough opportunities for students to practise, which causes them a lot of anxiety.”
Practising on Patrick is the nearest students will get to the real deal - he is set up in an exam room and students must walk in and conduct a real doctor-patient conversation about his symptoms and medical history.
Initially he is reluctant to have the exam and the student must develop their bedside manner to communicate why it is necessary and make him feel comfortable.
Patrick is currently set up for use at Florida University and the team of developers hope he will be used as the basis for more research on how artificial intelligence can be used for medical training.