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Photos: Paging Dr. Robot

Remote hospital gets a roaming robot that connects its patients to doctors from afar.

Who says all the good gadgets are in the big cities?

The sick bay in one small California town just got a lot more interesting. Healdsburg District Hospital, in Sonoma County, Calif., recently showed off a new addition to its staff, a remote-presence robot called RP-7.

RP-7

RP-7 cruises around the hospital's hallways and, with its flat-screen TV for a head and two panning cameras for eyes, allows patients and doctors in one town to consult with other doctors or specialists hundreds of miles away. Sitting at a computer, a doctor can move the robot around a hospital in a remote location, talk with a patient and hospital staff, and can even listen to the patient's heartbeat. (Not to mention scare the wits out of the hospital's nurses by making RP-7 lurk about.)

It's almost enough to make me feign a flu just to go check out the No. 5 lookalike.

But for the hospital-wary, we've posted some pictures of the robot in action here.