Health professionals have been some of the most affected by the coronavirus pandemic that plagues all countries and that is why an experiment started in China that gave excellent results: a hospital attended by robots that take vital signs , giving medicines and food, disinfecting the facilities and even raising the morale of the patients, guiding them to exercise and dance.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly viral outbreak that in early April had left more than 50,000 people dead and one million infected worldwide, closed the last of the temporary hospital centers it had designated to attend on March 10. the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients requiring medical assistance earlier in the year.
The success of the authorities in eradicating the virus in the central Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, allowed them to close the 16 temporary medical centers, but not before using one of them for an experimental program in which the robots, not the Human personnel, attended to the needs of patients with the symptoms produced by the new coronavirus. Program that later expanded to other cities.
The project was a collaboration between the research institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hubei officials, which included a donation of 12 sets of robots from the artificial intelligence and robotics company CloudMinds Technology, based in Beijing.
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Each set of robots consists of six different types including a 5G-enabled medical assistant, one for cleaning and disinfection, one for medicine and food delivery, one for temperature measurement and vital sign inspection, and one for removal of medical waste, which offers services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The robots, some of a humanoid aspect and others in a basic cube shape, then report to the doctors if any of the patients has fever, their heart rate, blood oxygen levels and other relevant information about their health.
The purpose is to offer medical personnel remote care options to measure the patient’s temperature, disinfect contaminated spaces and administer medications, providing an effective solution to reduce the chances of infection for health sector workers and, incidentally, improve the level of isolation. and control within quarantined environments, according to the Hubei authorities.
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One of the robots is called Ginger and in addition to doing patient care tasks, he teaches them some dance routines to keep them active during the convalescence period and poses with them in photos and selfies.
Ginger also offers a response service to patient queries and other services that help ease the psychological pressure of inmates and increase their confidence, something key in overcoming illness, according to the Global Times newspaper, a publication of the Communist Party of China (CCP).
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The Chinese company said in a statement that robots can “be deployed and operated quickly, flexibly and safely in epidemic prevention efforts.”
CloudMinds Technology said it is ready to open its platform and strategically cooperate with international robotics companies to launch a variety of medical robots in places of greatest need.
“It is our duty as a company dedicated to improving the lives of ordinary people to step forward and help in any way we can to combat this unprecedented crisis. It is especially in dangerous situations like these, which pose a high risk to humans, that Cloud Robots can offer valuable assistance, ”said Bill Huang, the company’s chief executive.
Among the conclusions of the trial, it is highlighted that the robots helped to relieve the pressure on medical workers and allowed them to keep themselves safe from contagions to face the pandemic.
Furthermore, “robots do not transmit disease and can be easily disinfected,” Huang said.
Despite the fact that the temporary hospitals to serve the patients of COVID-19 closed their doors and the medical personnel are taking a well-deserved rest, the robots remain operational within the hospital center in case their use is necessary again.
CloudMinds began using robots like the humanoid Cloud Peper, which uses facial and language recognition to converse with humans, in early February to encourage COVID-19 patients who are prevented from receiving visits from family members.
Other androids also helped in other ways to combat the epidemic in Wuhan, checking identities of patients and people attending hospitals, spraying disinfectants in some residential areas of the city, and even the Danish company UVD Robots sent some of its robots out of Autonomous disinfection to more than 2,000 Chinese hospitals. These sophisticated Danish teams use ultraviolet light to kill viruses and bacteria and prevent hospital staff from exposing themselves to infections.
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