Researchers in one of the top universities in China have designed a robot that say it could help save lives on the front line of the battle against the new coronavirus.
According to Reuters, the machine consists of a robotic arm on wheels which can make ultrasound, take swabs from the mouth and “listen” to the patient’s organs, which is normally done with stethoscope.
Such work is done normally by doctors in person; however, thanks to this robot, which is equipped with cameras, medical personnel need not be in the same room with the patient; in fact, may be located in another city!
“The doctors are all very brave”,
said Professor Zheng Gangtieh, of Tsinghua University, lead robot designer.
“However, the virus is just very contagious… we can use robots to do the most dangerous jobs.“
The idea came to Zheng at the beginning of the new lunar year: Wuhan had already been foreclosed on and incidents and deaths were rising daily. As an engineer, Zheng wanted to do something to help the effort. On the first day of the lunar year, he heard from his friend, Dong Tziachong, executive chairman of Beijing’s Tsinghua Changung Hospital, that the biggest problem was that the frontline workers were infected.
Zeng brought together a team and began converting two robotic arms with the same technology used in space stations. The resulting robots are fully automated, and can even be disinfected on their own after activities involving contact.
“However, the feedback from the doctors was that it would be better to have less automation as a personal presence calms the patient down,”
said about it.
The team now has two robots that have been tested by doctors in Beijing hospitals. One is still in the team lab at the university, but the other is at a hospital in Wuhan, where doctors have started training for its use.