As personal protective equipment in hospitals is in short supply these days, figuring out ways to reduce the exposure of medical workers to coronavirus patients while treating them at the same time is essential to ensure the safety of those best equipped to combat the pandemic. Turning robots into medical helpers could be one way to approach that.
At least that’s what robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics has recently done by adding custom designed mounts to its dog-like Spot robot, turning it into a mobile telemedicine platform, which has already been interfacing between doctors and patients in a Boston hospital for several weeks.
Spot, the robot healthcare worker, uses an iPad, as well as a two-way radio, to allow doctors to remotely triage patients as they approach the hospital, enabling them to reduce their potential interaction with a COVID-positive patient.
Several future robotic applications are currently being worked on by Boston Dynamics to expand the functionality of this kind of remote patient treatment. The next steps are to find ways to remotely measure body temperature, respiratory and pulse rates, and oxygen saturation.
The company is also investigating mobile robotic technology that can aid in the disinfection or decontamination of spaces or surfaces. Propositions include using UV-C light to disinfect hospital rooms.