Friday, July 6, 2012

DOC (The Robot) Retires

Staff wished DOC (the robot) well at his retirement party in the Image Service Center.

Doc and his co-workers celebrated his retirement on Friday July 6th, 2012. The celebration was held in the Image Service Center (ISC) located in the Blake Sub-basement. It was a bittersweet occasion where all enjoyed some cake and spoke about Doc’s years of service at MGH.

The Image Service Center relocated in August, 1999 to the Blake Sub-basement consolidating several areas where images had been previously stored. The relocation of hard copy images to one primary location, the decommissioning of dumbwaiters that were previously used to shuttle images from location to location and the inability to install a pneumatic tube system due to obstructions in the upper floors posed a problem for the ISC. The ISC and MGH Imaging Leadership looked into the technology available at the time and were able to solve this difficult problem by being bold and creative. In April of 2000 a new team member was introduced to the ISC. He was a 5ft, 600lb. robotic courier.

DOC the robot was battery-operated, ran on trackless technology and had the ability to remotely call for the elevator. He was able to navigate his way throughout the halls without assistance. He was a great employee, all you were required to do was charge him overnight and he was on time every morning. Doc drew a crowd wherever he went. People were so intrigued by his presence and his ability to speak, uttering commands such as "Please stand clear", "I am about to move" and "I am waiting for the elevator" that they often followed him to his destination.

Alas due to the Department’s transition from hard copy film to the current digital format the need for Doc's services began to decrease. This new reality combined with the fact that the Pyxis Corporation discontinued his model meant that it was time to retire. So with mixed feelings he celebrated his retirement with good cheer. However his story does not end there. Doc has been selected to take a prominent part in the MGH history as part of the Museum. He is now patiently waiting in Somerville until his next journey begins as part of a formal exhibit.

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