As the threat of the Novel Coronavirus continues to rise around the world, we have seen many robots lending their hands to help the front-liners. We saw how Moxi is helping the clinicians and nurses in hospitals and now that popular football-playing robot dog from Boston Dynamics has come forward to help the doctors and caregivers to fight the pandemic.
As robots are not at all close to humans when it comes to contracting diseases and spreading it across, these metal helpers are great replacements for staff work and other simpler jobs. Boston Dynamics wrote in their latest blog post that the company received inquiries from hospitals if their robots could help healthcare workers fight COVID-19 or not. As per the post, the company has been working for the last six weeks to build a custom payload and application architecture for its Spot Mini robot. This is to reduce the exposure of frontline healthcare workers to the disease.
Now, with the current orders in local hospitals, suspected COVID-19 patients are asked to line-up outside their tent for initial testing. This process requires up to 5 medical workers to be on the field and near to these patients. So, this process increases the chance of contracting the disease by many folds for those 5 medical workers.
However, thanks to the Spot Mini, doctors and medical workers can now video conference with these suspected COVID-19 patients remotely using an iPad and a two-way radio. These pieces of equipment are mounted on the robot’s back and enable doctors to interact with the patients from a distance and even from their homes.
As the company is taking its first steps in making its Spot Mini a healthcare-focused robot, Boston Dynamics wrote that they are open-sourcing their work on the Spot Mini for other robot-makers. You can check it out on GitHub. This will help other robotics companies to create their own version of Spot Mini to help the healthcare industry in this time of crisis.