Meet Cody, the robot that gives sponge baths

It's not as sexy as Nurse Nancy, but Cody, the robot who gives baths, might be more effective and cheaper in the future.

One thing we can probably all agree on is that in the future, robots will be everywhere. But will they play the role of master or servant?

Cody the robot
Sexy times! Healthcare Robotics Lab/Georgia Tech

With luck, the latter will come to pass, and Cody, a concept robot from Georgia Tech, is an example of what we should hope for (or fear). Simply put, it's a sponge bath robot, three words I never thought I'd type in the same sentence.

The best part is it appears to do the job well, though it certainly takes all the sexiness out of the endeavor. The autonomous robot uses lasers--because, really, robots all have lasers, or at least should--to specify a body part that needs to be scrubbed.

A camera then feeds the information to a microprocessor which, in turn, commands the robot's arm to wipe the selected area, which it swabs first.

In tests conducted by Georgia Tech's Healthcare Robotics Lab, Cody used image processing to determine the hue of the "debris" (which we're guessing includes dead skin cells--and possibly bedbugs and dignity) and thus ascertain how much remained on the arm after the robot completed its task. Cody effectively removed 96 percent of the stuff.

Fortunately, it performs its duties using "relatively low force"--less than three newtons, which is science speak for, "Oh, yeah, right there, baby."

So let's recap: If you're in the hospital of the future, instead of a sexy nurse or orderly giving you your daily sponge bath, you will get a sterile, unthinking robo-doc named Cody. Sometimes progress isn't all it's meant to be. And just so you know what's coming, there's a video of Cody in action below.

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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