My name is Raviteja Burugu, I am from India and I am studying an MSc in Robotics at Cranfield University. I hope you have read my previous blog about How often do we use Robots. If not have a look here and here

COVID -19 has changed the lifestyle of most of the humans in the world. Many are working from home or have lost their jobs. Health and Nursing departments are working hard to bring us out from this pandemic. I would like to thank all the doctors and health care workers who are putting their efforts in treating the patients around the world. In this blog, I would like to discuss how robots are helping us to fight against COVID -19.

Many routine activities of health care workers are checking the temperature, changing the bedsheets, disinfecting the rooms, delivering food or medicine to patients, and checking the condition of patients. These activities involve interaction between the patient and healthcare workers and there is great probability of spreading the virus during these tasks.

Countries around the world have approached COVID -19 by using Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and physical distance initially but it is becoming very difficult as the number of cases being registered is increasing drastically day by day. Use of PPE also has increased rapidly which led to the scarcity of PPE.

Maintaining social distancing and reducing the workload on doctors, scarcity of PPE and dealing with rapid increase in cases being reported are the main reasons robots came into rescue. A robot is the best solution in many scenarios. Software robots and physical robots are being developed in the major areas like nursing, disinfecting, chatbots, delivery of food /medicine and data collection. Robots have ability to repeat the task very efficiently and they will not get tired, unlike humans, the figure below illustrates different robots that are being used.

Source : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/kompa%C3%AF-covid-19-nursing-homes-vincent-dupourqu%C3%A9/

Many countries around the world are under lockdown, staying at home and avoiding contact with other people. People cannot go out of their house unless there is an emergency or necessity, like food shopping or buying essentials. Over the last decade, a technological revolution occurred in the field of Robotics and Autonomous vehicles sectors which is not very much visible, but due to COVID -19, this has come into the public sphere. Here are the few robots used around the world.

  1. Autonomous Delivery Robots Running in the streets of Wuhan used by and e-commerce giant JD to deliver goods between logistic stations and desired locations.
  2. Robots are being used for delivering the medicine , food to the patients , interacting with patients and doing daily tasks
  3. Hong Kong developer Chinachem’s hotels unit brings in robots to beat coronavirus slump which could deliver 130-150 meals per day.
  1. Police in India , Spain used Drones to check the lockdown situations surveillance ,for delivery of various products and for disinfecting.
  2. Graduation ceremony was also conducted using the Avatar Robots by BBT University in Japan.
  3. Much more details about the similar robots can be found in “Robots And Drones Are Now Used To Fight COVID-19” by Bernard Marr.

Software robots are being used for tracking the COIVD -19 tests. CSAIL device lets doctors monitor COVID-19 patients from a distance – MIT researchers. Many hospitals started using robots in various applications. Best explained by MITRA Robot which has features like inbuilt human detection computer vision model, user validation , face recognition and contactless temperature detection using machine vision techniques. Here are some more robots around the world especially in hospitals:

  1. A technology focused-hospital opened in china which uses six different kinds of robot-doctors to check temperatures of patients, deliver meals, make rounds of the ward and clean infected areas. The hospital is also equipped with 5G, installed by state-owned China Mobile, to enable live updates and fast communication with the robots’ human operators. The robots, which were donated by Chinese cloud-robotics company Cloud Minds, were set up in less than a week.
  2. Researchers at China’s Tsinghua University have developed robots that can screen patients for the coronavirus, without a doctor having to be present. They say it can help reduce the risk of doctors contracting the deadly virus. “Doctors are all very brave, but this virus is just too contagious. We can use robots to perform the most dangerous tasks,” said ProfessorZheng Gangtie.
  3. In Singapore, Alexandra Hospital is using a robot called BeamPro to deliver medicine and meals to patients diagnosed with coronavirus. Doctors and nurses can control the handy robot via computer from outside the room, as well as to conduct conversations via screen and camera.
  4. Tommy the robot nurse helps keep Italian doctors safe from coronavirus, The robots have touch-screen faces that allow patients to record messages and send them to doctors. Most importantly, Tommy and his high-tech teammates allow the hospital to limit the direct contact with doctors and nurses have with patients, thus reducing the risk of infection.
  5. Thai hospitals deploy ‘ninja robots’ to aid virus battle, Thai hospitals are deploying “ninja robots” to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
  6. Autonomous disinfection with UV lamps. Robots that help in cleaning the Schools, Hospitals, Airports or office spaces. These robots play a vital role during this outbreak, Chinese hospitals have ordered 2000 UVD robots form Blue Ocean Robotics a Denmark Company
  7. Shark Robotics in France began testing a decontamination unit about a month ago and has already started getting orders, according to co-founder Cyril Kabbara. The company also unveils Rhyno robot design to fight Coronavirus COVID 19 contamination
  8. LightStrike is an autonomous robot that patrols bedrooms disinfecting them via ultraviolet light. US Firm Xenex has seen a surge in requests from hospitals for its LightStyrike robot, a drone that flies through the hallways disinfecting using ultraviolet light.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused robotics innovation to accelerate, according to Lesley Rohrbaugh, the director of research for the US Consumer Technology Association. Manufacturing medical robots is not always cheap, with the lockdown situation these companies are also facing many issues to manufacturing these robots due to drastic changes in the supply chain, procurement, production and shortage of workforce.

I have covered only few robots around the world and I believe every country is doing their best in dealing with COVID-19.

I would request you all stay home and keep safe. Thanks for reading the blog.

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