Medical students feel up this robotic butt called ‘Patrick’ for educational purposes

credit: BSkyB/NBC Universal TV

The first thing that’ll (most likely) pop into your head after seeing the photo below is: “what the frak?” (at least, if you’re a Battlestar Galactica fan). No, it’s not a new video game controller for a twisted game called Let’s Find That Alien Probe. nor is it a toy for people with specific…..desires. This robotic butt called Patrick is helping medical students practice prostate exams.

‘Patrick’ is designed to help students practice intimate examinations

Dr. Benjamin Lok together with Dr. Carla Pugh of the University of Wisconsin designed a mannequin with sensors so that they are able to track a student’s performance during an “intimate exam” such as clinical breast and prostate exams. Dr. Lok’s company Virtual Patient Group created a virtual patient simulation that, combined with the mannequin, give medical students the most life-like experience they could have.

The virtual patient prostate exam simulation is a way for medical students to practice how to deal with the anxiety that goes with such intimate exams. The simulators allows the student to actually talk to the virtual patient and practice their communication skills, as well as practice the actually examination of a patient’s prostate. The mannequin’s force sensors measure how much pressure the student is using during the exam, and can tell the student when they are using too much pressure.

At the moment Patrick is being piloted at Drexel University and the University of Florida, but the results so far are very promising. Hopefully in the future there will be enough Patricks for medical students across the globe to practice on.