June 17, 2008
By The Mercury
Staff Sgt. Erik Lloyd and his son Blake meet for the first time two weeks after Blake\'s birth, through the technology of Brooke Army Medical Center's RP-7 robot. Lloyd is assigned to the Army Institute of Surgical Research and serving with the Deployed Combat Casualty Research Team in Iraq.
The wireless mobile robot allows a remote operator to visit patients' beds, converse in real time and read charts or reports. Working the robot's controls from a computer station in Baghdad, Lloyd panned the camera around a conference room at Brooke where his family and associates had gathered to introduce him to his son.
"Hey! Is he asleep' Poke him to wake him up. Hold his head up so we can get a picture from our end," Loyd said.
"The interaction they had was amplified by his ability to move the robot around and zoom in and out with the camera. He was able to see his son close up. Granted nothing is better than being there in person, but given the circumstances with him being half a world away, this technology allowed him to be 'remotely' present with his new expanded family," said Maj. Kevin Chung, medical director for the ISR's burn intensive care unit.