Sunday, July 28, 2013 – 4:28pm

The list of things I don’t want robots to be in charge of is pretty simple. It begins with them controlling the world and using humans as batteries while we live in some augmented reality fishbowl that might have a name like, I don’t know, The Matrix. It ends with them drawing my freaking blood.

Reasonable fears, right?

Well, Veebot, a California start-up, is combining robotics with image-analysis software to find a good, ripe vein in your arm and plunge on in.

Remember those blood pressure machines at local drug stores? As a kid, I used to love sticking my arm in and feeling the cuff inflate and tighten against my skin. Well, this machine does just that, but it’s only the first step, not the purpose. After it restricts your blood flow, an infrared light shines on your skin and a camera searches for a vein. Then it checks out said vein via ultrasound to make sure it’s the real deal.

Next, out pops the needle and in your arm it goes.

This whole process takes about a minute.

At the moment, it gets the right vein right about 83 percent of the time, the same as humans. Veebot wants this number at 90 before moving to clinical trials, though.

At least robots haven’t taken over the world yet. Right?



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