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Meal-Delivering Robot at Hospital Falls Down Stairs

<i> Associated Press</i>

A newly purchased robot used to deliver meals to patients at the Stanford hospital became disoriented and tumbled halfway down a flight of stairs, a spokesman said.

“Cookie,” which is still being tested, suffered a dented bumper but was otherwise uninjured in the accident Thursday, said Stanford University Medical Center spokesman Don Gibbons.

The $60,000 gadget was shipped back to Transitions Research Corp., the Danbury, Conn., company where it was made, for an examination, Gibbons said.

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It was unclear why the 4-foot, battery-operated, rubber-wheeled robot veered off course. It was supposed to be programmed to steer clear of stairways but apparently got confused and took a plunge as it wheeled back to the meal service area after taking food to a patient.

“It’s a roving meal tray. It has no legs,” Gibbons said.

The hospital has two other robotic transport devices.


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