Published: 03rd December 2020
This robot by Kerala students can deliver meds, food to COVID-19 patients and disinfect itself
The robot named 'Humbot' can distribute medicines and foods to a minimum of six COVID-19 patients in a single round inside a COVID-19 ward and disinfect itself before returning to a health worker
A team of eight students from MEA Engineering College, Perinthalmanna, is awaiting the feedback from the health department about their new invention, a robot, which can help our frontline COVID-19 warriors — nurses, doctors or other medical staff — to avoid being exposed to the virus.
The robot named 'Humbot' can distribute medicines and foods to a minimum of six COVID-19 patients in a single round inside a COVID-19 ward and disinfect itself before returning to a health worker who stays in a green zone. The doctor or health worker can also do a video chat with the patients through the camera fixed over the robot in order to monitor their health. The health worker can control the robot from a distance of up to 900 metres. The trial run of the technology, developed with the fund of Rs 50,000 from National Health Mission for the Kerala Health Department, will be conducted at the Government District Hospital, Perithalmanna.
Superintendent of the hospital Amanulla C says the robot can help avoid the health workers coming to direct contact with COVID-19 patients. "The students showed us the features of the robot. An advantage of it is that the health workers can avoid going to red zones wearing PPE kits in a Covid treatment centre. We will soon conduct trial run of the robot in the hospital. If we are satisfied, we will recommend it for other Covid treatment centres in the district," Amanullah said.
The students say the robot can be controlled with a laptop. "We have developed software and through it we can control the movement of the robot. We can also develop the technology into a robot which can be used controlled using a mobile app or joystick. After serving the patients foods and medicine, the robot can be disinfected inside a tend through a fogging method. Health experts approved our disinfection method," says Mohamed Uvaize, the leader of the students' group.
The students — Uvaize, Mohamed Zakeer, Muhammed Niyas, Hassan Rizwan, Amjad Marathumpally, Munwir Ali and Muhammed Ameer — are confident of reducing the production cost of the robot from Rs 50,000 to Rs 35,000. Faisal C H, an assistant professor in the college, says the students had earlier planned to launch a start-up Humbot tech by developing a wheelchair which can also be controlled using a laptop, mobile phone or joystick. "After developing the wheelchair, we presented the students and their technology before former Malappuram district collector Jafer Malik. The collector asked the students to develop this robot to help the health department. Anyway, we will encourage the students to conduct further research on their two inventions to develop their start-up, Humbot tech," Faisal C H, a Professor with the college said.