COVID-19: According to the information shared by the actor on his Facebook page, the robot will be used to transport food and medicine and dispense of the waste generated in the isolation ward housing the COVID-19 patients, to reduce human exposure to the virus.
Coronavirus in India: Wow! Malayalam actor Mohanlal’s Viswasanthi Foundation donates a robot to a Kochi hospital! As the country is dealing with coronavirus, doctors and nurses are interacting with patients on a daily basis to nurse them back to full health. However, that also means exposure to the virus for a long amount of time. While the role of doctors and nurses in treating the patients cannot be replaced, the secondary healthcare work, like providing and disposing of medicines, providing the patients with food, etc., can be taken care of by technology.
With that in mind, actor Mohanlal’s organisation, Viswasanthi Foundation has donated a robot called “KARMI”, to the Government Medical College in Kalamassery, Ernakulam, and the bot was handed over to the District Collector of Ernakulam on Saturday. The organisation also plans to distribute such bots to hospitals across India.
According to the information shared by the actor on his Facebook page, the robot will be used to transport food and medicine and dispense of the waste generated in the isolation ward housing the COVID-19 patients, to reduce human exposure to the virus. The robot, developed by ASIMOV Robotics, includes facilities like UV disinfection and targeted detergent spray to ensure sanitation.
Talking exclusively to Financial Express Online, ASIMOV Robotics CEO Jayakrishnan said that while his company had already worked with robots in healthcare and had also deployed bots during the second outbreak of Nipah virus. However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, they decided to modify the bots. “The main difference between COVID-19 and Nipah and Ebola is that COVID-19 is not as life-threatening as the latter two diseases, but it is spreading really fast at a large scale,” he said.
Talking about the parameters kept in mind for the development of the KARMI-bot, Jayakrishnan said that they wanted to keep the robot cheap and easy to transport and operate.
COVID-19 pandemic: Features of the KARMI-bot
Jayakrishnan said that they have designed the KARMI-bot to be the Robo-caregiver. According to the product details accessed by Financial Express, the bot is capable of autonomously navigating inside the isolation ward and can, thus, efficiently transport and dispense food and medicines to the patients. It can also engage with the patients through its voice speech feature and initiate video conference between the patient and the human caregiver. It can also disinfect the items used by the patients while returning to the home station.
The KARMI-bot’s key features are:
- Autonomous dispensation of food and medical items inside the isolation wards.
- The product is cost-effective and light-weight. The bot has been designed in a way that even allows it to be transported in a hatchback car.
- It has a payload of 20kg.
- It can move at a speed of 1 metre/second and has autonomous and remote control features.
- It has an optional feature of a detachable container equipped with UV disinfection facility to disinfect the used items.
- It also has an optional feature of electrostatic sprays to disinfect items.
- It can also self-charge.
Jayakrishnan said that the bot has been made in a manner that items used by the patients can be disinfected with the help of UV radiation while the bot is transporting them back to the home station, so that any other person touching the items does not run the risk of contracting the disease. “UV can be harmful for people, though. So the KARMI-bot can only run the UV when it is switched on and the UV is also switched off when the part holding the UV container is opened, so that the person opening the box is not exposed to the rays,” Jayakrishnan said.
“The KARMI-bot also has the feature of targeted disinfection spray. This can help majorly because the isolation ward could contain the spilling of some bodily fluids like urine or vomit. Since the virus spreads from droplets, exposure to these fluids could be harmful for caregivers. To tackle such problems, the KARMI-bot could first be sent into the ward for electrostatic spray, and then the human caregivers could go in after to take care of remaining things,” the CEO of ASIMOV Robotics said.
The robot is a step taken forward towards the protection of the medical professionals, who are risking themselves while making sure that the disease does not spread and the infected patients recover properly.