• Alice Brown

Global Trends; Robots that Can Test for COVID-

In late November news sources worldwide blew up with stories detailing the Egyptian inventor, Mahmoud El Komy's design for a robot, called Circa-03, that can test for Coronavirus in patients via remote control. The invention came about during Egypt's second wave of coronavirus, El Komy noted that the robot has many capabilities further than testing for the virus including taking patients' temperature, and warning them to wear a face mask, take blood tests, perform echocardiograms and X-rays, and display results to patients on the built-in screen.


El Komy stated that he "tried to make the robot seem more human so that the patient doesn't fear it. So they don't feel like a box is walking in on them," he stated that the aim of the creation was to limit exposure to infection and prevent the transmission of the virus, which has proven to be a big problem amongst hospitals that work with prospective and proven cases worldwide.


The robot features a human-like face, head, and robotic arms, the inventor noted that "there has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren't afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans".



Source: Reuters


Egypt is not the only region to see the use of robotics for Coronavirus testing, Singapore has deployed ABB high-precision robots in a new automated laboratory system, known as the Rapid Automated Volume Enhancer (RAVE), the bots that carry out nasal swabbing to diagnose COVID-19, in a bid to reduce healthcare workers' risk of exposure to the deadly coronavirus.


Taiwan's biotechnology company TCI, has also unveiled prototypes for COVID-19 testing robots that return results within three hours. The QVS-96 robot can produce more than 2,000 Covid-19 test results a day, aiming towards closing the testing gap in the region.


Towards Europe, Lifeline Robotics, a Danish start-up has created an autonomous throat swabbing robot to test for the novel coronavirus. The company is owned jointly between the university, Norrsken Foundation, and REInvest Robotics.


Pakistan has also collaborated with the UK in launching a highly advanced robotic mobile laboratory in Islamabad, with the aim of increase the capacity for Covid-19 diagnoses. The state-of-art lab, launched in partnership with Opencell UK, is specified to meet the requirements for high throughput Covid-19 RT-qPCR testing, and only requires only six staff members in all shifts to operate.


There are many more examples of global innovation in robotics and technology against COVID-19, tech companies worldwide have been putting years of research towards the fight against the pandemic. It can only be assumed that these advancements will become even more practical amid the release of the vaccine this year, with even more roll-outs expected worldwide in early 2021.



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