How Robotics Is Used Against COVID-19?

Here you can find the answer on question “How robotics is used against COVID-19?” and read about key peculiarities and features of this sphere.

How Robotics Is Used Against COVID-19?

In the fight against coronavirus, all means are used. Of course, modern technologies do not trail far behind. For example, robots help doctors in the infectious disease wards of Chinese hospitals. In South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore, mobile apps that track the social contacts of infected people have been very influential in overcoming the peak of the epidemic.

Engineering developments including the developments of medical engineering, AI as well as   genetic engineering have to accumulate all efforts in order to fight against COVID-19. Engineering marketplaces such as Engre have become a true source of knowledge, power and weapon against pandemic. And it isn’t surprising that modern technologies have already put their best forward. Let’s discover how exactly robotics and AI have influenced the fight against coronavirus.

The Last Information About COVID-19

A new coronavirus appeared in the Chinese province of Hubei, presumably at the end of last year. Since then, it has spread to all continents except Antarctica. The virus was called SARS-CoV-2, and the disease it causes is Covid-19.

On May 20, 2020, 5,000,599 cases of infection with the Covid-19 were recorded in the world. Over the past day, the number of infected has increased by 36 507 people.

The total number of deaths from coronavirus infection in the world is 325,156 people. Today 1,663 deaths are recorded.

2 704 909 people are in the active phase of the disease, 45 448 of which are in critical condition. The mortality rate is equal to 6.50%

Covid-19 is a dangerous viral disease that in a short time affects the human gastrointestinal and respiratory tract, causing extensive pneumonia. There is an opinion that coronavirus can be transmitted not only from person to person but also from animal to person. Such a fact can be explained by the nature of virus and its structure. Moreover, the primary source of coronavirus is considered to be a mutation.

The strain of the Covid-19 virus is easily transmitted by airborne droplets. And all people are susceptible to coronavirus not depending on their age. Especially, coronavirus is dangerous for people who have diabetes mellitus, asthma or other chronic diseases.

According to BBC , the member countries of the World Health Organization have agreed to review the measures that have been taken around the world to curb the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. This is stated in the resolution adopted unanimously on Tuesday, May 19, following a meeting of the highest body of WHO ⏤ the World Health Assembly. It began in Geneva on the eve, representatives of 194 states participated via video link.

According to a document quoted by the AFP news agency, WHO members decided to give an “objective, independent and comprehensive assessment” of the global community’s response to the pandemic. The resolution notes that countries should cooperate in combating the pandemic, and in particular in the process of inventing a coronavirus vaccine, which should be equally available to all countries in the world. The document is not binding, the agency explains.

However, Trump considers the response of the WHO to an outbreak of coronavirus belated.

Earlier that day, US President Donald Trump called on WHO to carry out the reforms that he believes needed within 30 days. If this requirement is not met, the United States may permanently stop funding for WHO and terminate membership in the organization. He accused WHO of a delayed response to the outbreak of coronavirus and the lack of an independent investigation after the emergence of data that diverged from the official position of China. In response, the head of the organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that the WHO response to the threat of coronavirus was timely.

How COVID-19 Has Contributed to the Development of Assistant Robots

The joint development of the University of Chulalongkorn and the telecom operator Advanced Info Service allowed doctors to treat patients without fear of contracting coronavirus. Smart robots with 5G technology monitor and care for patients. Robots are used in 3 medical institutions.

A hospital in southern China also used a robot to take the strain off medical staff and stop the spread of the virus. Robots Ping Ping and Ahn An collected sheets and garbage, delivered medicine and food to the peak incidence of coronavirus in China. It is noted that one such robot replaces 3 nurses when it distributes drugs.

Artificial Intelligence Droids were able to read maps, determine terrain, and make the most convenient route. Similar robots delivered food to a hotel that was closed due to quarantine.

Experts believe that thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, such simple droids with artificial intelligence will become more numerous, cheaper, but at the same time effective.

Robotics Begin to Fight Against COVID-19

Coronavirus has accelerated the entry into the market of new technological solutions that are designed to make the work and life of people during a pandemic safer.

A special version of the robot diagnostician from Promobot can conduct an initial consultation of patients. The machine asks questions about the symptoms of Covid-19, remotely measures the temperature and, depending on the condition of the person, gives recommendations: stay at home or, for example, call a doctor.

Thermocontrol terminals are “sharpened” for temperature measurement in crowded places. They operate without the direct presence of an operator. After measuring the temperature, the terminal enters data into the system and warns the security service in case of exceeding the indicator.

One more effective system is a MedBot ⏤  the development of the "Android technology" which can distribute medications to patients in hospitals, provide remote monitoring of their condition by the doctor, as well as disinfect rooms and provide video communication between patients and relatives.

In hospitals in Wuhan, robots performed other types of work. For example, they disinfected the chambers by spraying hydrogen peroxide and illuminating the surface with ultraviolet lamps. Each robot has immediately 9 lamps built into the central part of the body. Disinfectors can navigate in space and do not encounter obstacles.

Similar devices were taken to the streets of the city. Initially, spraying robots were used in agriculture, but because of the coronavirus, it had to be redesigned. The robot can be controlled remotely, the charge is enough to make it go 7 km, spraying with a disinfectant in an area of ​​about 40 thousand m². At the same time, the spraying speed is 10 thousand m² per hour.

Medicine of a New Level

Special diagnostic robots also work in hospitals. Roboruk using a binocular endoscope, wireless data transmission equipment, and an interactive terminal takes a swab from the patient's throat. Thanks to this, specialists receive information about the state of human health in real-time.

Another type of diagnosis ⏤  temperature measurement ⏤  was also given to robots. At the same time, they manage much better than nurses, as they do it massively and right in the center of the city. Patrol robots are equipped with a face scan system. They identify a person, measure temperature, and determine if there is a mask on him. If there is no mask, the robot sends data to the police, since being in a public place without a mask in the areas most affected by the virus is considered an offense.

In some countries, negotiations are underway to automate testing for coronavirus to reduce the burden on healthcare providers.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robots Help Doctors Fight Coronavirus

Robot maker Boston Dynamics announced that its four-legged Spot robot has been used in one of Boston's hospitals to help physicians treat patients with coronavirus. The company also has plans for the wider implementation of its robots in medical institutions, where they could help medical personnel perform various tasks.

Spot robots began to be used by staff at a Boston hospital to sort patients suspected of having COVID-19 remotely. Developers from Boston Dynamics introduced a version of the Spot robot designed to provide telemedicine services. Its design provides a special mount that allows you to place an iPad or other tablet of a similar size to conduct video conferences between medical workers and their patients.

Boston Dynamics is also ready to provide access to its developments, including the software used, to other companies creating similar robotic telemedicine solutions. The company notes that wheeled or tracked robots may be more suitable for many tasks in the healthcare sector.

It is noteworthy that the developers do not intend to dwell on telemedicine. The company is currently making efforts to make the Spot robot more useful in the fight against COVID-19. Developers are exploring the possibility of integrating patient monitoring functions. It is possible that soon Spot will learn to measure the temperature of patients, to fix the pulse rate and respiration. Moreover, robots can be useful for disinfecting hospital rooms with ultraviolet radiation.

UVD Robots

Virologist studies have confirmed that coronavirus can remain viable on various surfaces from several hours to several days. One of the highly effective methods of disinfecting surfaces is the treatment with ultraviolet radiation.

Unfortunately, the traditional stationery and portable irradiators have one drawback ⏤  they lose effectiveness when disinfecting rooms saturated with equipment and having hard-to-reach places. The fact is that in order to destroy viruses, bacteria, and other types of harmful organic microorganisms, direct exposure to ultraviolet rays on the treated surfaces is necessary for a certain time.

In order to solve this problem, the Danish company UVD Robots, based on the mobile robot platform MiR100, has developed and mass-produced an autonomous robot for disinfecting rooms using ultraviolet radiation. This tool allows you to process significant areas and at the same time provides a high disinfection efficiency. The efficiency of processing rooms saturated with medical equipment, and having a complex layout, is achieved by automatically moving the robot between the programmed positions and exact observance of the exposure time. This ensures the penetration of ultraviolet rays even in the most inaccessible places.

The UVD Robots philosophy is based on the integration of proven industrial bactericidal UV solutions with innovative new robotic technologies that create innovative products that help the healthcare industry eliminate harmful pathogens, thereby improving the safety of healthcare facilities and improving the quality of care in healthcare facilities around the world.

The robot is completely autonomous, safe, reliable, and eliminates human errors. In addition, it is convenient to use robots for round-the-clock operation.

Currently, UVD robots help in the fight against coronavirus in many medical institutions around the world and also help to decontaminate offices, educational institutions, transport infrastructure facilities, pharmaceutical, and food industry enterprises.

Robots “Tommy” Help Italian Doctors

In Italy, severely affected by the coronavirus epidemic, especially in overloaded infectious disease hospitals in Lombardy, robotic medical assistants began to work in April. Robots are ready to ensure the safety of patients and medical personnel in an epidemic.

Robots “Tommy” do not wear masks, but help hospital doctors and nurses look after patients with coronavirus. They place robots inwards near hospital beds with patients so that they can continuously monitor the parameters of connected medical equipment and, if necessary, transmit data to hospital staff. Each robot has a built-in touch screen with which patients can record messages and send them to doctors.

Thanks to robots, doctors can pay attention to patients who have more serious health problems. In addition to freeing up staff to deal with serious cases, robots also help save face masks and robes.

Tommy, like other similar medical robots, has one important advantage over humans. They can work around the clock without fatigue.

Medibot to Help in Malaysia

Malaysian scientists have created a robot in the form of a barrel on wheels, which, they hope, will conduct rounds in hospital wards.

The authors expect that such an innovation will reduce the risk of infection of health workers.

Medibot is a white robot 1.5 meters high, equipped with a camera and a screen with which patients can remotely communicate with doctors. The invention, developed by scientists at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, is also equipped with a device for remote monitoring of patient’s temperature.

It aims to help nurses and doctors working inwards with social distance. According to Zulkifli, one of the developers, its development costs about $ 3,500, and in the near future, the university plans to test it in its own private hospital. If this proves successful, scientists hope that the robot can be used in public hospitals, where people with COVID-19 are sent.

From Thailand to Israel, robots are used in the fight against coronavirus. They are increasingly being relied on as fast, effective, fighter-protected soldiers in the war against the virus.

In addition, China has developed a system for identifying patients with COVID-19 using computed tomography based on artificial intelligence technology. Such a technology is needed in order to be able to distinguish a new coronavirus from other varieties of pneumonia.

Currently, the system is undergoing a trial operation at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin. It is the same developer which came up with China's first Tianhe-1 supercomputer. The head of the research team reported that the new system would help in the analysis of CT images in patients with COVID-19.

“Ninja Robots" in Thailand

In Thailand, "ninja robots" were hired to fight the coronavirus. Robots can measure temperature and pressure, as well as ensure the safety of health workers by reducing their interaction with sick people, reports Business Insider.

Robots were originally designed to monitor recovering stroke patients. However, in connection with an outbreak of coronavirus disease, they were “sent” to another area of ​​work.

The robots were put on wheels so that they could easily move around the hospital. They also have a screen that allows doctors to communicate online with sick patients.

They were called "Ninja Robots" because of their black color and unusual shape. Automated machines are already operating in four Thai hospitals. The development team plans to send "ninja robots" to 10 additional hospitals in Thailand, as well as teach them some more actions, in particular, washing and disinfecting floors, delivering food and medicine to patients.

AI for Predicting Survival of Patients

The first results of artificial intelligence using clinical data at the Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, published in a new article, show that the new system can predict the survival rate of infected patients with an accuracy of more than 90%.

The work was carried out by researchers from the school of artificial intelligence and automation, as well as other departments of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China.

The authors of the article say that the assessment of the survival of patients with coronavirus today can be based on more than 300 laboratory or clinical results, but their approach takes into account only the results associated with milk dehydrogenase, lymphocytes, and highly sensitive c-reactive protein.

Another paper, Deep Learning for Coronavirus Screening, published last month says that scientific development uses several convolutional neural network models to classify datasets obtained through CT images and calculate the likelihood of infection COVID-19. In preliminary results, they argue that the model is able to predict the difference between COVID-19, influenza, viral pneumonia, and healthy cases with an accuracy of 86.7%.

For deep model training, computed tomography of patients with influenza, COVID-19, and healthy people from three hospitals in Wuhan are used, including 219 CT results from 110 patients with COVID-19.

As the outbreak spreads rapidly, those at the forefront of the fight against the virus need tools to help them identify and treat affected people at the same rate. Tools must also be accurate. It is not surprising that for the diagnosis and prevention of coronavirus, individual companies already provide solutions based on artificial intelligence, and almost certainly more such solutions will appear in the state and the private sector.

AI's Contribution to the Vaccine’s Discovery

The first use of artificial intelligence expected in the context of the healthcare crisis is undoubtedly to help researchers find a vaccine that can protect caregivers and control the pandemic. It is a well-known fact that computer sciences and statistics have long been contributing to researches on biomedicine. Therefore, the use of artificial intelligence is part of this continuity.

Predictions of the structure of the virus created by AI have already saved scientists from months of experiments. In this regard, AI has contributed to providing great support in this sense, even though the so-called “continuous” rules and endless combinations for studying protein folding always limit its achievements. Moderna, an American startup, has distinguished itself with its biotechnology-based on messenger ribonucleic acid, for which the study of protein folding is necessary. Thanks to the support of bioinformatics, the time required to develop a prototype vaccine that can be tested on humans was significantly reduced.

At the same time, Chinese technology giant Baidu, in partnership with the University of Oregon and the University of Rochester, published its linear folding prediction algorithm to study the folding process of the same protein. This algorithm is much faster than traditional algorithms for predicting the structure of the secondary ribonucleic acid of a virus and provides scientists with additional information on how viruses spread. Thus, predicting the secondary structure of the Covid-19 virus RNA sequence would be calculated using Linearfold in 27 seconds instead of 55 minutes. DeepMind, a subsidiary of the parent company Google Alphabet, also shared its predictions of the protein structures of the coronavirus from the AlphaFold AI system. IBM, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft also provided the computing power of their servers to US authorities to process very large data sets in the areas of epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling.

High technology is actively helping humanity in the fight against coronavirus. Devices are being created for the disinfection of mobile phones, gadgets for monitoring the amount of oxygen in the blood, robots for the initial examination and registration of hospital patients, and programs for monitoring the state of health. And we really want to believe that high-tech will help us defeat the pandemic in the shortest possible time. In the end, all high technologies are created precisely to help people.