New blood collection robot uses artificial intelligence to detect veins

A new tabletop robot to draw blood or insert catheters to deliver drugs and fluids was created by a group of engineers at Rutgers University. According to the press release, this robot uses artificial intelligence and infrared and ultrasound imaging technologies to guide needles or catheters with extreme precision into even the smallest blood vessels with minimal human supervision.

The new robot, described in a study published in Nature Machine Intelligence, arrives in a sector, that of blood sampling or the introduction of medicines into the blood itself, which is revolutionizing in recent years thanks to the advent of robotics and artificial intelligence.
Today, these robots can perform fairly complex medical tasks and can improve the results of procedures.

The new robot has already been tested on animals and volunteers and has proven to be able to accurately identify even the smallest blood vessels, which in itself improves the success rates and the total time of the procedure, even for the most experienced professionals, as explained by Martin L. Yarmush, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers and senior author of the study.

One of the most difficult steps when it comes to taking blood or putting medication into the blood itself is to detect the veins and arteries. Very often even the most experienced health care professionals fail at the first attempt (or even at the next attempt) because the blood vessels can be small, twisted, collapsed on themselves, etc., situations that are even more present in chronically ill or traumatized people.

Very often at least five attempts are necessary, which delays treatment and is certainly not appreciated by the patient himself.
In addition, multiple attempts can perforate larger arteries than nerves or adjacent internal organs, which naturally increases the risk of complications.

Instead, this new robot or guide the lake or catheter precisely by identifying, through ultrasound imaging and using artificial intelligence, the blood vessels, distinguishing them from the surrounding tissue and classifying and estimating them by depth and level of adaptation to the operation.

“Not only can the device be used for patients, but it can also be modified to draw blood from rodents, a procedure that is extremely important for animal drug testing in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries,” Yarmush himself reports.