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Yikes! A Phlebotobot!

What's worse: human error, or a needle-wielding robot?

All I can think of when I look at this blood-drawing robot is the scene in Star Wars: A New Hope when Darth Vader threatens Princess Leia with the IT-O Interrogator droid. Get that thing away from me!

However, this robot--called the Veebot--could do away with some of the peskier aspects of getting your blood drawn by a human. The robot uses a blood pressure cuff-type device, instead of a tourniquet--so no pinching. It uses infrared light, a camera, ultrasound imaging, and image-analysis software to select a vein, confirm that it has adequate blood pressure, line up the needle, and insert it at the correct depth. Then it draws your blood, with no chance of its hand slipping and delivering a fatal air bubble to your bloodstream. The whole thing takes about a minute.

A human chooses the right vein about 83% of the time, and currently, so does the Veebot. But its creators say they'll get its accuracy rate to 90% before they even start clinical trials. 

So, a robot that pokes you with a needle might not be such a bad thing. Seriously, who knew the future would be so different than Star Wars?


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