Friday, February 15, 2013

A movie about a healthcare robot

Yes really, a movie about a healthcare robot set in "the near future" called Robot & Frank. The movie is about the growing relationship between a curmudgeonly ex-cat-burglar, Frank, and a healthcare robot, just called Robot. The robot's prime directive is to improve Frank's health so it ends up encouraging him to plan a burglary, since the planning stimulates his mind. The robot acquiesces to taking part in the heist when Frank promises to commit to a low sodium diet. Any more would give too much of the story away. The movie is low key and will probably slip under your radar despite having a great cast. Some of the AI is quite accurate; I particularly enjoyed the use of "brute force search" to crack a 3 digit safe code.
   Don't think that healthcare robotics is just science fiction, many researchers, including colleagues in the University of Auckland, are actively working in this area and expect healthcare robots to be a reality in, as this movie says, "the near future."

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