The RP-7 robot assistant is designed to enable surgeons and doctors to have a virtual presence with patients. It performed a more sentimental assignment, allowing Army Staff Sergeant Erik Lloyd, currently on tour in Iraq, to interact with his seven day old son, Blake, in a hospital in Texas.
Lloyd controlled the five-and-a-half-foot tall 'bot remotely, and could adjust its cameras to see and take pictures around the room, as well as speak to his son and wife through its speakers. “It was an awesome experience. I am far from the first father in this conflict who has missed the birth of their child," Lloyd said. "However, with this technology I was in a small way allowed to feel more like I was part of a family than I had been since he was born.”
Lloyd's wife, Kristie, was also impressed by how RP-7 enabled her husband to have such a crisp telepresence in the room. The married couple keeps up with one another using webcams, but the video link provided by RP-7 brought Sergeant Lloyd to life, albeit as a floating head atop a robotic body, and allowed the soldier to witness the newborn son he won't be able to see until the duration of his tour is up in six months.