Researchers have developed robots that can use existing hardware to provide doctors with updates on patients,media reported. Using special sensors, these robots can measure body temperature and even blood oxygen levels without touching the patient. The robots are expected to replace doctors and nurses, reducing the chance of infection.
A new study examines the potential role of semi-autonomous robots in combating the new crown pandemic, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s news website. More specifically, robots already in existence can prove useful as contactless medical tools that can monitor patients or screen for signs of disease without endangering humans in the process.
The idea makes sense. Robots like Spot, developed by Boston Dynamics, can easily navigate through simple floor plans. Hospitals and clinics are not very complex, and robots can easily access rooms and work with specialized accessories to measure temperature and provide remote care. Special sensors on robots can quickly return readings of temperature, pulse, and even blood oxygen levels without actually touching the patient.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology news website:
The algorithm developed by the researchers allows them to use infrared cameras to measure elevated skin temperatures and breathing rates. For body temperature, the camera measures the skin temperature of the face, which is associated with the core body temperature. The algorithm also considers the ambient temperature and the distance between the camera and the patient, so that measurements can be made at different distances, in different weather conditions, and are still accurate.
“We are pleased to be able to establish this production partnership, in which scientists with engineering and robotics expertise work with the hospital’s clinical team to bring advanced technology to the bedside,” Giovanni Traverso, senior author of the study, said in a statement.