Meet Rosie, Hal, R2-D2 and WALL-E -- robots roaming the halls of this local hospital

Published: Monday, February 05, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Unmanned robots are making deliveries at Kettering Medical Center. Video by Amelia Robinson.

You aren’t seeing things. That cart is moving itself ... sort of. 

RosieHalR2-D2 and WALL-E, four TUG autonomous mobile delivery robots from Pittsburgh-based Aethon, have been roaming around Kettering Medical Center for more than three weeks now. 

David Starkey, Kettering Health Network’s director of materials management and biomedical engineering, said the robots serve as “assistive staff” to the 22 members of his materials team at the hospital. 

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The robots are named for pop culture robots: Rosie from “The Jetsons,” R2-D2 from the “Star Wars” series, Hal from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Wall-E from the film the Disney film “WALL-E.” 

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The robots are decorated with oversized eyelashes, googly eyes and lush eyebrows that are far more than on fleek. 

“The (materials and nutrition) staff named them, and they had kind of a fun time doing that,” Starkey said. “The staff is enjoying this.” 

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The TUG R2D2 waits for an elevator. The Robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January 2018.(Photo: Amelia robinson)

Last week alone, the robots made 650 deliveries and traveled more than 110 miles using a sensor mapping system that is unseen by human eyes. 

“That’s a lot of tennis shoe time. What we are doing is trying to make (staff members’) jobs better,” Starkey told us. “We can have them doing other things rather than making so many trips through the hospital.” 

Each robot costs about $1,400 a month, can plug itself in for recharging and can work up to 20 hours a day. 

The cost to the hospital is about $2 or $3 each an hour. 

Thus far, the TUGs are used to deliver supplies ranging from Band-Aids to bedding to the main hospital’s five floors and the five-story Kettering Cancer Center. 

Those facilities are linked by a sky bridge which the robots navigate. They can also call elevators to use on their delivery rounds and sense objects in their path. 

David Starkey, Kettering Health Networks's director of materials management and biomedical engineering, stands with a TUG nicknamed R2D2. The robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

“They can do deliveries in a couple of different ways,” Starkey said. “(We can deliver carts) with bins of supplies for actually stocking the nursing units, or we can send up supplies with individual bins that are labeled with a unit name. It will actually deliver it right to their nurse’s station.” 

The robots will be even busier soon. 

In a matter of weeks, the hospital plans to start using the robots to deliver food to floors, said Cheryl Shimmin, the network director of nutrition services for Kettering Health Network. 

Floor ambassadors will be used to deliver food to patient rooms. Shimmin said that the hope is to better serve patients and to reduce staff injuries. 

“The TUGs make it easier on the employees,” she said. 

Kettering is the first hospital in the region to have us TUGs, but Starkey said they can be found in about 400 medical facilities throughout the country delivering supplies, food and equipment.

Kettering, which has eight hospitals plus the cancer center, plans to introduce TUGs next in Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek. 

Starkey learned about the TUG on the Internet while plans were underway for the cancer center, which opened in 2016. 

Some hospital leaders thought Starkey and Shimmin were joking when they introduced the idea of using robots to make delivers. They soon realized how robots can be useful, Starkey said. 

The robots are monitored by computer in the materials department, and if they get stuck in a jam, can be moved remotely by Aethon. 

David Starkey, Kettering Health Network's director of materials management and biomedical engineering, monitors TUGs via computer. The robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The first week they were introduced, they carried chocolate for nurses along with the supplies delivers. Starkey said nurses might also find a surprise for Valentine’s Day, as well. 

So far, he said the robots have been big hits with hospital visitors. Their whimsical names have helped give them personality. 

“Everybody wanted to take a picture with them,” Starkey said. “They really like Rosie because she has the eyelashes.”

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Kettering Health Network's David Starkey and Cheryl Shimmin worked to introduce TUGs to the hospital chain. The robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

TUGs return to their charging stations when they are not making deliveries. The robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

The TUG nicknamed "WALL-E" out on a delivery. The Robots were introduced to Kettering Hospital in January 2018.(Photo: Amelia robinson)

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Local pastor reacts to death of Rev. Billy Graham

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:34 AM

NEW YORK - JUNE 21:  The Rev. Billy Graham speaks at a news conference about the upcoming Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade June 21, 2005, in New York City. The crusade will most likely be Graham's last mass event in the United States and will be held Friday to Sunday in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images
NEW YORK - JUNE 21: The Rev. Billy Graham speaks at a news conference about the upcoming Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade June 21, 2005, in New York City. The crusade will most likely be Graham's last mass event in the United States and will be held Friday to Sunday in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A Springboro pastor called Rev. Billy Graham a “Godly man” and remembered being a part of a crusade in St. Louis.

“I had the privilege of being a part of his crusade in St. Louis in 1999,” said Mark Goins, associate pastor at Newspring Chruch in Springboro. “Always appreciated the fact he lived what he preached.”

PHOTOS: Billy Graham’s last visit to the Dayton area

Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina at the age of 99, according to the Associated Press.
RELATED: Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

Graham preached to millions across the globe and counseled several presidents during his life.

“He didn’t confine his ministry to just local,” Goins said.  “He had a voice to speak into the lives of leaders.”

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Do you want to be a speaker at TEDxDayton?

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

Have you ever heard of Ted Talks?

After five successful years of sparking energetic curiosity, inspirational conversations and meaningful connections, TEDxDayton is ramping up for its sixth year with big aspirations.

Organizers of the 6th annual TEDxDayton event have announced that they are now accepting applications from speakers who want to give a TED talk at this year’s event on Oct. 12, 2018, at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton.

>>PHOTOS: TEDxDayton 2017

The theme for this year’s event is “SHIFT.” 

“We chose a theme that reflects a new era for TEDxDayton,” event co-chair John Owen said in a news release. “We’ve had five strong years, and as we go into our next five, we’re looking for creative ways to change and improve the experience for the audience, while paying tribute to the ideas, speakers and spirit of the events we’ve had up till this year.”

WHAT IS A TED TALK?

Since the very first licensed TED talk in 1984, TED talks have been a platform for short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances that foster learning on a global scale, as well as in local communities.

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(Amelia Robinson)

“This year’s speakers will be helping us build upon five great years of sold-out TEDxDayton days that have seen the event become one of the most talked-about in town,” said event Co-Chair Ron Rollins. “We’re looking for people who know they have an idea worth sharing that will help the audience see and think of the world in a new and different way.”

>>Meet the 2017 TEDxDayton speakers

Cory Owen, who is co-chairing this year’s speaker’s committee along with Brenden Wynn and Chelley Seibert, said the committee is looking for speakers who can teach and inspire — speakers who will leave the audience still talking as they leave the theater.

HOW TO APPLY

Potential speakers should complete the speaker application on www.tedxdayton.com by March 30. 

The speakers committee will review all applications and invite selected candidates to auditions on May 5, 8 and 10, according to a TEDxDayton press release. 

Participants will be notified within a few weeks of auditions if they have been selected to be a TEDxDayton 2018 speaker.

>>PHOTOS: TEDxDayton 2016

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‘What Had Happened Was’ Podcast, Episode 3: All funked up with Ohio Players’ Diamond Williams 

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:27 AM

Cover of the Ohio Players album
Cover of the Ohio Players album "Honey." The funk band was formed in Dayton, Ohio.

Screaming “fire” in a crowded room and getting people to dance instead of run -- that’s funk for you.

Amelia Robinson, host of the new “What Had Happened Was” podcast, sat down with James “Diamond” Williams of the Ohio Players right here in the Land of Funk.  

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More than 40 years after the Players struck it big, their long list of hits — “Skin Tight” “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” included — still make people move. 

With Diamond -- one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top drummers of all time -- at the helm, the Players are working on a new album. Last year, they released the single “Reset.”

The Ohio Players are lead by "James "Diamond" Williams. Founded in Dayton, the band is working on a new album.

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Diamond does not hold back during his chat on the podcast. He shares his thoughts on everything from fast cars and sexy women on album covers to why the Players aren’t in the Rock Hall of Fame (yet) and why Dayton (the Land of Funk) doesn’t have an Ohio Players Way (yet). 

Strap in. The ride is about to get funky. 

Want more “What Had Happened Was” in your life?

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About the podcast:

“What Had Happened Was” is a podcast for Dayton, powered by Dayton.com. You won't believe the stories that come from right here. Host Amelia Robinson shares the best tales from the Gem City, Land of Funk and Birthplace of Aviation: Dayton, Ohio.

Catch up on past episodes of WHHW:

>> Episode 2: Bourbon, Beards and Joe Head

>> Episode 1: The Rubi Girls explain

James Diamond Williams, born and raised in Dayton, joined the Ohio Players in 1972 and remained with them while they churned out many top 40 hits. CONTRIBUTED(Contributing Writer)

The Ohio Players are lead by "James "Diamond" Williams. Founded in Dayton, the band is working on a new album.(Hand-out/Ohio Players)

There is so much to love about Montgomery County: The Ohio Players were the trailblazers of a virtual Rhythm & Blues empire with its roots in Dayton. This band popularized a specific genre of R&B music known as Street Funk. They were the first American band from the Dayton area to go gold with an album earning over $1 million and the first to go platinum with an album selling a million copies. They have been called the premiere R&B band in the nation during the 1970s, popularizing a distinctive Midwestern sound and reaching an international following with European and Japanese tours. The Ohio Players music continues to energize artists of subsequent generations, and many young hip-hop musicians cite the influence of their sound.(HANDOUT)

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New record high temperature set at Dayton airport

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 11:51 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 6:59 PM

Windy day in Dayton

A new record high temperature for Feb. 20 was set this morning at Dayton International Airport breaking the previous record set in 2016.

The temperature reached 70 at Dayton International Airport around 11:30 a.m. to break the record. Then later in the afternoon the temperature peaked at 75 establishing a new benchmark. 

RELATED: Record-breaking warmth today; widespread showers expected overnight

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