Mexican technology has not lagged behind amid the coronavirus emergency. In a matter of three weeks, the Roomie Bot company has developed RoomieBot Covid-19, a robot that identifies suspected coronavirus cases.
This robot takes patients’ temperatures and measures the amount of oxygen in their blood (to detect dyspnea), using an infrared thermometer and an oximeter. It is also able to verbally interact with patients, identify symptoms such as coughing, and collect demographic or clinical data.
“There’s no need to touch the robot to interact with it, as to do so would make it a point of contagion,” explains Hugo Alcántara, Director of Marketing for Roomie Bot. “We want to demonstrate that humanoid robotics can be a positive support for society and that this technology is being developed in Mexico.”
In order to design the robot in such a short period of time, the Mexican company Roomie Bot worked with two infectious diseases specialists and relied on technology from Intel and Amazon Web Services. The former provides artificial intelligence and processing solutions so that the robot can analyze large amounts of data, while the latter provides the cloud, machine learning, and the analysis and identification of people and places through Amazon Recognition.
“Robotics has become more important since Covid-19 because it allows you to maintain a safe distance and avoid contagion”, says Alcántara. “With this development, hospitals can have another form of first contact and information gathering, so that doctors can make decisions regarding specific treatment later.”
Currently, the Mexican firm has the capacity to deploy 100 robots that can be used in hospitals, businesses, and airports. 50% of the manufacturing cost is covered by the Roomie Bot company and the other 50%, approximately 600,000 pesos, by the organization that decides to acquire the robot.
In addition to the RoomieBot Covid-19, a robot called A-NÍMO is also used in Mexico to treat patients and prevent the infection of health workers. This is used by doctors at the San José Hospital, part of the Tec Salud system, and helps to carry out remote consultations with patients diagnosed with coronavirus.
A-NÍMO has a loudspeaker, six microphones and two movable cameras that allow a wide view of rooms and patients, who can both see their doctors on a screen and hear them.
Both RoomieBot Covid-19 and Á-NIMO can undertake an average of 60 consultations per charge and have a battery that lasts for up to eight hours.
Robots in many parts of the world have been used to take temperatures, distribute hand sanitizer, deliver motivational messages, and disinfect spaces. Health experts warn that some social distancing measures may be necessary until 2021. In this context, the disinfection company UVD Robots believes that there may be higher demand for robotic workers in offices, airports, and schools.