Would You Let The Veebot Robot Take Your Blood?

Would you salute your robot overlord if he was about to stick a needle in your vein?

Veebot is a particularly gory robot. He takes your blood–not like a circuit-board Nosferatu might–instead, Veebot’s Mountain View-based creators are hoping he might head up the next generation of phlebotomists. The machine currently has an 83% accuracy rate and has to get to 90% before undergoing clinical trials, but as the firm points out, between a quarter and one-fifth of all blood tests fail at the first attempt, so Veebot is doing better than the average. Eww.

The problem of course lies in trypanophobia, or a phobia of needles–Wikipedia estimates that one in 10 Americans suffer from it. Never mind Bender performing brain surgery on you, having a robotic arm stick a needle in you is a far more emotive issue.

Medical robots are nothing new, and they are becoming more and more autonomous as medical tech continues to innovate at a fast pace. Earlier this year, the FDA approved the first human-interacting robots that will allow specialists to converse with, assess, and even diagnose patients remotely. But could you really allow an autonomous device to find the best vein in your arm, stick a needle in it and then give you a lollipop afterwards? I know I couldn’t.

[Image: Flickr user David__Jones]

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.