Robotics companies help with COVID-19 response

Monday, 23 March, 2020

Robotics companies help with COVID-19 response

The Robot Report has reported that robotics companies have been responding to public health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reducing the risk of person-to-person transmission is of the highest priority for government and health officials,” said Rocos Global Ltd. The Auckland, New Zealand-based company’s Rocos Robot Operations Platform is designed to enable developers and users to connect, monitor and control fleets of robots.

Rocos pointed out that while no one robot can do it all, there are robots that can help with informing and entertaining people, moving patients, and cleaning and disinfecting areas.

Some of the challenges facing robotics start-ups that want to serve the healthcare market include central management of growing robotic fleets, providing the right levels of support and improving collaboration among robots and with human staffers and patients, Rocos said.

China is becoming the largest testing ground to demonstrate how emerging technologies can be harnessed to improve epidemic management.

UVD Robots is among the first providers of mobile robots that use ultraviolet light to disinfect rooms. The Denmark-based company is scaling up to meet global demand.

Los Angeles-based Dimer UVC’s GermFalcon is a cart that uses UV radiation to disinfect aircraft cabins, while Shanghai-based TMiRob has deployed 30 disinfection robots across hospitals in Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Taiyuan, China, local authorities have used a remote-controlled vehicle to spray disinfectant in residential areas in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

US-based Xenon Corp. provides UV-C lamps to Xenex Disinfection Systems. San Antonio, Texas-based Xenex’s robots are designed to reduce healthcare-associated infections in hospitals, and it claimed that its LightStrike UV robot is already in use in 500 facilities in the US.

Several hospitals in China are also using robots to deliver food and medical supplies internally to limit people’s potential exposure to infection. For example, Pudu Technology Inc.’s robots are autonomously delivering meals.

Qianxi Robotic Catering has donated robots to prepare food for medical workers in Wuhan. A hospital in Hangzhou, China, is using 16 ‘Little Peanut’ robots from Keenon Robotics Co. to deliver food. Mobile robots can also remove trash.

Siasun Robot and Automation Co. has donated robots for collecting throat cultures, as well as adjustable beds, to hospitals in Shenyang. Inc. is also testing delivery robots in Wuhan.

In addition, China Mobile and CloudMinds have donated 5G-enabled robots to a Shanghai medical facility to aid medical staffers. The hospitality industry is also using telepresence robots in response to health concerns.

Image: Disinfectant spraying robots travel at about 4.3 k/h and can sterilise around 4.8 ha/h. Credit: AsiaWire

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