Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Lakewood Health System's new robot delivers

Tim-E, the TUG smart autonomous robot, delivers smiles and specimens 24/7

Tim-E the TUG robot waits for a pick-up in the hospital hallway.
We are part of The Trust Project.

Staples, MN – Lakewood Health System took a step into the future earlier this summer when they purchased a TUG ("TUG" is not an acronym), the smart autonomous mobile robot that securely delivers medications, specimens and other materials between Lakewood’s laboratory (lab), emergency department and hospital lab draw area.

When the lab was expanded and moved to the lower level (from its previous location on the first floor), it was determined that due to the location change and staffing challenges, assistance was needed in getting specimens and other materials to and from the lab without pulling necessary staff from their tasks.

Enter TUG. Staff in the aforementioned areas simply ‘call’ the robot to their respective department, and following a pre-mapped path, it utilizes special laser, sonar and infrared sensors to override automatic doors and even the elevator, to make its way to the necessary department. Once it arrives and either makes a pick up or delivery, it returns to its docking station in the lab.


Lakewood staff participated in a naming contest for the robot, with Tim-E ultimately being chosen as the winner by the administrative Operations & Planning (O&P) team. The name is an homage to retiring Lakewood President & CEO, Tim Rice. With a name like Tim-E, the robot also needed an updated look, so it recently received a vinyl/PVC wrap, giving it a futuristic robot look inspired by Star Wars. Staff have had fun with Tim-E, giving it googly eyes, dressing it up for holidays and even cheering on the Vikings with a SKOL flag and Viking helmet/hair.

Tim-E the TUG returns to lab with a delivery and the drawers are checked by phlebotomist Elisheba Johnson.

Since its first run on June 21, 2022, Tim-E has traveled 1,000 miles, making 1,300 total trips (round trip from and back to lab), and 3,900 deliveries or pick-ups (stops while making a trip). Tim-E is available for runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on average, makes 12.4 deliveries/pick-ups per day, with an average trip time of about 10.5 minutes. All of which is time added back to the day for lab staff.

During their visit, Lakewood patients and visitors may encounter Tim-E in the hallway or elevator as it makes its way to its destination. While Tim-E’s sensors prevent it from running into obstacles in its path, patients and visitors are asked to simply walk around Tim-E if they have a chance meeting.

Read more local area news
Subscribe and listen to the Brainerd Dispatch Minute at brainerddispatch.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.
Brainerd High School and the Brainerd Family YMCA are partnering to offer a lifeguard class this semester and allow students to become certified through the American Red Cross.
Area school closings, delayed starts and early dismissals, business, event and meeting notices. Check back for updates to these listings.
Mom protects her cheeks with moleskin at ski meet.
Students recognized for achievements

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "Pineandlakes Echo Journal." Often, the "Pineandlakes Echo Journal" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

Send us your news or story ideas by emailing nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or calling 218-855-5877. Be sure to leave a message!
What To Read Next
While traffic has roughly doubled since 2020 — the heart of the pandemic, when there were 14.9 million passengers — it’s still not at pre-pandemic levels: In 2019, there were 39.6 million passengers.
The Dispatch earned a total of 31 awards in the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Contest.
Louis and Cyril Keller are the inventors of the Bobcat skid-steer loader and were selected as 2023 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.