Design Fiction: MedBot

Project Status: Complete

As part of my Design Research Methods course, taught by Chris Le Dantec, we were given the assignment of creating a design fiction by researching emerging technology reports at Georgia Tech and imagining a near-future scenario where these technologies exist. I chose to imagine a scenario where medicine delivery robots served as primary care to the elderly.

My final deliverable took the form of a news article detailing the ways in which these medicine delivery robots got arrogant off of the attention of the residents.

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Design Process

Conceived at Georgia Tech Robotics Lab, the autonomous medicine delivery robot consisted of a Kinect, a Roomba, a small cart, and a tray. The robot would determine the patient’s location based off of the IP address of the patient’s smartphone, which had a connecting app. The app would prompt the user to provide status updates and to verify the location of the patient.

At first, I wanted to go the whole sci-fi route and I drew inspiration from the Star Wars medical droids and Baymax from Big Hero 6.

However, after getting feedback from my professor and classmates, I went for a more near-future idea. As it turned out, the near-future medicine delivery robot, is actually in the stages of production.

I finally caved and decided to modify the existing medicine delivery robots for my own purposes. But at first, I wanted to design my own.

Overall, I wanted to keep the look consistent with the group’s original prototype so I started out by sketching a few different ideas. My first concept was cone shaped with the Kinect as the head. I wanted to hide the tray, hence the cone. But then as I thought through my fiction, I realized that the Kinect head would not be expressive enough.

So, I went back to the drawing board. I created a version with a screen that included a Kinect hat and the Roomba at the bottom.

This process has taught me a lot about illustration. I used a Wacom board for the first time to draw the robot and I learned out to do 3D in Illustrator. Yay for learning!

Ultimately, however, I realized that this robot is not realistic enough and then the design fiction would not be compelling.

Luckily, Panasonic has developed a medicine delivery robot called Hospi. I then took images of Hospi to modify into this product, MedBot.


Essentially, I address the question of human-computer interaction by dramatizing the idea that these MedBots are asked to replace real human companionship for the elderly.

MedBot: making lives better by optimizing interaction.

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“A Robotic System for Autonomous Medication and Water Delivery.” Georgia Tech College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing, Robotics Lab.

Panasonic Hospi Robot.