The Vital Role Technology Plays in the Fight against COVID-19
As countries around the world grapple with COVID-19, front line medical workers are deploying robots, telemedicine and other technologies to help contain the pandemic. China and Spain have used drones to monitor people during lockdown campaigns, while South Korea has deployed them to help disinfect areas in Daegu, an epidemic hotspot. Antwork, a group company of Japanese industrial drone maker Terra Drone, flew medical samples and quarantine materials in China’s Xinchang in February during the height of the epidemic.
Earlier this month, a field hospital staffed by robots opened in the Hongshan Sports Center in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Dubbed the Smart Field Hospital, the facility is a project involving Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, China Mobile and CloudMinds, a maker of cloud robotics systems based in China and the U.S. The Smart Field Hospital is a trial aimed at relieving exhausted health-care workers even as the outbreak in China slowed in recent weeks.
All medical services in the facility were carried out by robots and other IoT devices. Patients entering were screened by connected 5G thermometers to alert staff for anyone feverish. Patients wore smart bracelets and rings that synced with CloudMinds’ AI platform so their vital signs, including temperature, heart rate and blood oxygen levels, could be monitored. Doctors and nurses also wore the devices to catch any early signs of infection.
Meanwhile, other robots provided food, drinks and medicine to patients, as well as information and entertainment through dancing, and still other autonomous droids sprayed disinfectant and cleaned the floors. The field hospital is one of several in Wuhan designed to accommodate some 20,000 patients if regular hospitals are overburdened. The facility and its robots are now on standby in case there’s a resurgence
Autonomous carts that can carry food or other items are nothing new; they’ve been in use at a growing number of hotels around the world. The experiment was part of CloudMinds’ deployment of more than 100 robots to Chinese hospitals, hotels and schools. Getting them into Wuhan involved flying to an airport in Changsha, driving 373 miles and getting through multiple government checkpoints to enter the city, according to the company.
Robots that were modified specifically for the coronavirus fight include a humanoid called Cloud Ginger (aka XR-1) and the Smart Transportation Robot, which can carry food and medicine to patients from health-care providers without person-to-person contact, which is the overall goal. UVD Robots is another robotics company, based in Odense, Denmark, that has sent hundreds of robots to the front lines in the battle against coronavirus. It has dispatched disinfection robots to Wuhan as well as hospitals in Rome and Veneto, a region in northern Italy that has been hard hit by the epidemic. The machines emit powerful ultraviolet light that can decontaminate surfaces By tearing apart strands of virus DNA. After mapping their environment, such as hospital corridors and patient rooms, they move around autonomously guided by lidar, shining 360-degree UV-C light from a mast.
The UV units can operate for roughly 2.5 hours on a charge and disinfect about nine or 10 rooms, according to the Danish company. They can kill 99.99% of bacteria in 10 minutes and are also effective against viruses. Texas-based health-care services company Xenex Disinfection Services is also sending virus-zapping robots to East Asia and Italy, as well as Houston. The Westin Houston Medical Center is rolling out Xenex’s LightStrike robots, which use UV light to disinfect guest rooms and common areas of coronavirus. The company says its robots can disinfect dozens of rooms per day per robot. It has provided hospitals with disinfection protocols, such as operating the UV robots near the emergency department or in ambulances if suspected coronavirus patients were present. All this inferences that Technology has been a key for human race for it’s fight against Coronavirus.