Published: 27th April 2020
How Hindustan Institute's robot Sevili can serve food, meds and interface with nurses in COVID wards
Sevili is a robot made by the Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, Chennai to assist patients in isolation wards and is currently being used at the GH in Chennai
With health workers sweating all day to handle the rise in Coronavirus cases, the Centre for Automation and Robotics of Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, Chennai invented a robot named Sevili which translates to 'caretaker' in Tamil. What does Sevili do? "Sevili helps in taking things like medicines, water, food and other necessities to a person in the isolation ward. This helps in reducing human interaction, thus preventing the chances of the virus contraction," says Dr D Dinakaran, Professor and Head, Centre for Automation and Robotics, Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science.
Sevili has started functioning in Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai. "The first Sevili was manufactured and sponsored to the hospital by Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science. Four more were sponsored by Renault Nissan and are also in the hospital," he informs.
Sevili at work
Sharing how the idea came about, Dinakaran says, "The robot is used for navigation in isolation wards. It can be operated within a range of 500 metres, which means one robot is sufficient for a floor. The robot has two cameras, one is used for its navigation while the other one is used for the nurse or doctor to interact with the patient. These operations are carried out by Radio Frequency or WiFi." This helps in accessing the robot even in hospitals that are at remote locations, he asserts.
When we asked about the safety concerns associated with the robot working in isolation wards, Dinakaran clarifies, "The robot will maintain a distance from the patient. The food, medicines and so on are safely packed. To be sure, after the robot attends to a patient, it is sanitised using sanitising liquids."
The team actively began to push Sevili out from the day when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in India. "The development of the model took a month. Later, the manufacturing of the final product took about two weeks," he shares and adds, "Resourcing materials during the lockdown was not an easy task as small scale industries were also shut. The institute helped us in procuring the necessary passes for the team, which helped us in completing the project at the earliest." The team has applied for a patent for Sevili.
The project team is led by Dr D Dinakaran, Head of the Centre for Automation and Robotics (ANRO) and the members include professor M M Ramya & other faculty members of ANRO, research associates Karthick Kumar, Jaise Jose, Rajesh, Sujin, technical staff Vinayagamoorthy and Rajasekar, students of Mechatronics Engineering Lena Sekar, Akash and Sivaprakasam.