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A Robot Butt Named Patrick Helps Medical Students Practice Intimate Exams

Or should we call him...Robutt?

Posted on May 28, 2015, at 2:37 p.m. ET

Scientists have developed a hands-on robot named Patrick to help medical students with prostate exams.

Andrew Robb / University of Florida

Intimate exams can be nerve-racking because students don't have many opportunities to practice, and the simulator allows them to get immediate feedback from the robot, KQED Science's blog Future of You reports.

“Our goal is to get students more comfortable with these mortifying scenarios,” lead designer Dr. Benjamin Lok told KQED.

Patrick isn't just a physical entity: He's actually a patient you can interact with to bolster your bedside manner.

Andrew Robb / University of Florida

The software mimics a scenario a doctor might encounter, including sussing out why he's there, his symptoms — even his medical and family history.

Researchers from the University of Florida, Drexel University, and the University of Wisconsin collaborated to build the technology, which was funded by the National Science Foundation.

But Patrick isn't the most complacent patient: He needs some convincing to get the crucial exam.

Andrew Robb / University of Florida

Who can blame him for not wanting to drop trou?

But unlike most patients, Patrick is extremely astute and knows what you're doing wrong.

Andrew Robb / University of Florida

Inside his butt, he has four sensors and will communicate to you if you're applying too much (or too little) pressure or if you've missed a spot.

If the technology is commercialized like the researchers hope, they could offer to sell it to other schools.

Andrew Robb / University of Florida

Other physical simulations include breast exams and conscious sedation. You can give virtual neurological exams, and research is still forthcoming about audiology exams and help with combating personal biases when determining a patient's pain.

You can chat with some virtual patients yourself on the team's site.

As for Patrick, you can just call him the Assman.

NBC / Via