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Social distancing with robots in hospitals

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT News
Mumbai/Pune, May 9:
The professors of Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Pune (Maharashtra)  have developed a robot at low cost under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project “Skill India” to help health workers engaged in fighting deadly COVID-19.
 The robot designed at a cost of Rs.50,000/- is being used in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital (SVPH), Pune where around 33 patients are under treatment. Once charged, the battery operated robot remains operational for 8 hours and reaches meals, water, medicines etc up to the patient. The medicines, meals and other material is placed in a tray fitted to the robot. The robot can be sent to the patients by a remote control. This automatically ensures social distancing and also gives relief to hospital staff.
It is fitted with a finder camera, two way communication microphone and speaker, so that the doctors can communicate with patients. The robot is sanitised after every use. SVPH Chief V. D. Gaikwad said that this robot was prepared by a team of two professors led by ITI Principal Vijay Chauhan within a week, after constantly working for 10 to 12 hours per day on the project. The idea came from students of the ITI, Pune. The skill development department canl certainly consider promoting this robot, he added.
As per the information provided by ITI officials here, ITI, Cuttack (Odisha) has also developed two robots to combat COVID-19. The cost of each robot is in the region of Rs.2.5 lakh. These robots can save health workers from the infectious virus and reduce the need for personal protective equipment. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, ITI, Cuttak had constituted an innovation team that developed these robots in its laboratory, in association with SAK Robotics Lab, a start-up.
One of the two robots is a service robot, named CO-BOT (Corona Combat Robot), which can move on wheels and has a humanoid structure. Its hand-like structures can hold a tray and carry a load up to 20 kg. This robots can be used in COVID-19 hospitals for carrying food, water and medicines to and from patients. The wireless communication protocols being used to control the robot can be further programmed with navigation and mapping to make them work autonomously in a hospital ward.
The second one, named NIGA-BOT, is a tele-presence robot which can be used for surveillance and tele-consultation by doctors who can interact remotely with patients through live video-streaming. This robot is also enabled with a wheeled mobile platform and has an interactive device for video calling. It can be used by health workers who have to make several rounds to the patients’ beds for monitoring their health. This will protect the doctors and nurses from contracting the virus during such interactions.

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