Robotic Dog: In the United States, at least 5,400 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers treating patients with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have contracted the disease themselves. Dozens of these medical professionals have died, and this is a conservative estimate.
Treating patients who can survive on the surface for days and spread through the air in respiratory droplets is a dangerous, deadly task no matter how you cut it. That’s why some hospitals in the Boston area have turned to an unexpected assistant: a robotic dog called Spot.
Robot maker Boston Dynamics said in a blog post on Thursday, “In early March, [we] began to ask hospitals if our robots could help reduce the risk of their staff’s Covid 19. ” “One of the hospitals we spoke to said that, within a week, one-sixth of their staff had contracted COVID-19 and they were considering using robots to maximize their Take the staff beyond the scope of the novel virus. ”
Spot has seen internet stardom on YouTube for hygienics such as dishwasher loading, dancing, and hanging out with Adam Savage, but Boston Dynamics has recently made the robot available on a commercial lease. Since then, RoboDog has assisted bomb squads and worked on oil rigs, but this is still his most important gig.
Spot has already been stationed at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a full two weeks. Right now, Boat acts as telemedicine support, assisting frontline staff in ad hoc environments such as triage tents and parking lots.
Generally, the protocol requires patients to stand outside in tents for initial temperature readings. It can take up to five members of the medical staff, who are most at risk of contracting the virus. Using robots, the hospital can reduce the number of workers in these environments and remove limited personal protective equipment, such as face shields and N-95 masks.
The spot is equipped with an iPad and two-way radio on the back so that healthcare providers can have video conferencing with patients while guiding robots remotely through patient lines in tents.
So far, hospital feedback has shown that the spot has helped reduce situations where nursing staff may be exposed to infectious patients. Boston Dynamics notes, “For every intake shift completed by teleoperated robot shifts, at least one healthcare provider is able to reduce its exposure to the disease.”
Still, there are only so many Spot units to go around, so Boston Dynamics is open-sourcing its stack of hardware and software to restore robots to healthcare work. It’s all available on the company’s GitHub page, down to computer-aided drafting files for mounts. The company says it doesn’t need proprietary Boston Dynamics hardware or software to convert other robots into Troy Workers – you just need open-source software.
In fact, Boston Dynamics imagined that wheeled or tracked robots would work even better than spots. So the company is working with Clearpath Robotics of Canada to develop more robotic tray workers.
Boston Dynamics seeks to make robots more useful in hospital settings by finding ways to remotely measure important symptoms such as body temperature, respiration rate, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation levels. Next, the company plans to use UV-C light (or similar technology) to kill virus particles and clean surfaces inside hospitals.