COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish researchers have developed a fully automated robot that can take coronavirus swabs so that health care professionals are not exposed to the risk of infection.
Researchers from Southern University of Denmark (SDU) and Lifeline Robotics hope their prototype ‘swab robot’ can soon be deployed to relieve health professionals of the potentially risky task of testing patients.
When a patient presents an ID-card, the robot prepares a sampling kit, performs the swab and puts the sample in a container ready for testing, explained Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, professor of robotics at SDU.
In a video, Savarimuthi tested the robot on himself. He positioned his face with his chin in a plastic frame, opened his mouth wide, and allowed a robotic arm to stick a swab into the back of his throat and rotate it.
The robot, powered by artificial intelligence, uses cameras to find the right part of the throat, and is programmed to swab it gently, the developers explained.
“You get exactly the same procedure repeated again and again which will give better quality of the samples,” Savarimuthu said.
“There’s going to be a global demand, a global need for more testing, more automated testing, to protect and shield those that are in the front line,” said the chief executive of Lifeline Robotics, Soeren Stig.
Reporting by Ilze Filks and Nikolaj Skydsgaard