Published: 28th April 2020
This nursing robot made by TN engg students can check body temperature of COVID-19 patients, dispense sanitiser and more. Here's how
V2 Buddy – the nursing robot can assist nursing interface by checking the body temperature level of COVID-19 patients, dispensing sanitising hand rub, delivering medicines and food and a lot more
There is a growing concern over the spread of the novel Coronavirus among medical professionals and frontline healthcare workers and to address this issue, a group of engineering students and faculty along with a couple of entrepreneurs have developed a nursing robot that will help to reduce physical interaction between the affected patients and frontline workers and thus maintain social distancing.
The team of Electrical Engineering students with the help of faculty members from Aarupadai Veedu Institute of Technology (AVIT) Chennai, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation (VMRF) along with duo entrepreneurs M Premnath and Subramanian S have created the robot called the V2 Buddy at the Ganesan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre. The robot was recently showcased at Vinayaka Mission’s Super Speciality Hospital VIMS, in Salem, and deployed at Vinayaka Missions Medical Colleges in Salem, Puducherry and Karaikal.
V2 Buddy – the nursing robot can assist nursing interface by checking the body temperature level of COVID-19 patients, dispensing sanitising hand rub, delivering medicines and food, enable the nursing staff to interact with patients remotely through video and audio interface from their nursing stations. This helps to minimize the nursing staff from getting exposed to infection. This sophisticated nursing robot can be controlled remotely through an app installed on a smartphone by the nursing staff. A Voice-enabled Nursing Call facility is also made available through the V2 Buddy Call, through which the patients in isolation can speak to nursing staff in the nursing station whenever required for clinical support and counselling.
"Nursing robots everywhere else can only serve food and medicines to COVID-19 patients. What we did is we added other relevant features like the infrared thermometer, so that a minimum of 32 patients' data can be recorded at one time which will be shared with the nurse who is in charge of a patient. She herself doesn't have to go near the patient but the robot will do it for her. The video-audio interface will also have all the instructions for the nurse who is using the robot for the first time. An automatic sanitiser vending facility is also installed in the robot and if a patient needs to sanitise their hand instructions will be given by the robot stating where to place them. With the help of the V2 Buddy call feature, a nurse doesn't have to be physically present each and every time patients need something. There might be calls from numerous patients at a given point which the nurses can attend from their nursing stations with this facility," explains Dr L Chitra, HOD Electrical and Electronics Department, AVIT Chennai and guide for the Nursing Robot project. The team began developing the basic model over the past six months. After March first week they planned all the other features including the medicine tray fitting, sanitisation and audio.
Premnath, one of the developers adds, “V2 Buddy was created after considering the inputs given by the medical and nursing teams of VIMS, the Super Speciality Hospital Unit of Vinayaka Mission Group. They provided guidance on the day-to-day operations and activities of nursing staff in an isolation ward which we attempt to enable through this robot.”
Subramanian, the co-creator explains, “The new age gizmo V2 Buddy will be operated using Bluetooth technology and remote sensors from a control console which will be in the hands of the nurse, who will be able to talk to the patient directly. The Ganesan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (GIEC) at Vinayaka Mission provided us with an ideal platform to build this robot with access to resources, technical support, working space and financial aid."
Dr Meenakshi Sundaram, Medical Director of Vinayaka Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS) said, “V2 Buddy is akin to a remote-controlled bomb disposal device, as it helps us achieve minimal contact from confirmed COVID-19 patients and still providing adequate care to them. We are glad that we have come up with this new age gizmo which is the need of the hour.”
VMRF is now planning to donate two of these nursing robots to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai and at the Indira Gandhi Government Hospital, Puducherry. The production and capacity of V2 Buddy will be scaled up according to the demand in the market, stated the developers.