Coronavirus | Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh hospital tests serving robot

The robot uses a tray to ferry food and medicine.

Updated - December 03, 2021 06:53 am IST

Published - March 26, 2020 12:41 pm IST - JAIPUR

A humanoid robot being tested at the SMS Hospital in Jaipur on March 26, 2020. Photo: Special Arrangement

A humanoid robot being tested at the SMS Hospital in Jaipur on March 26, 2020. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Government Hospital in Jaipur is conducting a series of trials on a humanoid robot to check if could be pressed into service for delivering medicines and food to the COVID-19 patients admitted there, helping to keep the doctors and nursing staff at a safe distance to protect them against the dreaded coronavirus.

A committee of experts, which saw the demonstration on Thursday, will shortly submit its report on a proposal to use the robots to serve the patients admitted to the hospital’s isolation ward, SMS Hospital’s Medical Superintendent D.S. Meena told The Hindu . SMS Hospital is the biggest government hospital in the State.


Mitigating risk

Dr. Meena said that since there were higher chances of the medicos and paramedical staff being infected with the virus despite wearing protective gear like masks and gloves, it would be a good idea not to get in touch with the patients frequently and instead use robots for rendering some of the essential services.

A Jaipur-based entrepreneur, manufacturing robots indigenously at his assembling unit, has offered to supply them free of cost to the hospital as part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative to help out both the patients and the staff. The robot sent to the hospital is battery-operated and has a life span of four to five years.

The humanoid robot, which uses artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT), has been designed with a tray which can be used for carrying medicines, food and other objects to the assigned patients. It can navigate its own way without the instructions to follow lines on the floor.


‘Easily disinfected’

“We will confirm the robot’s efficiency in carrying necessary items to the patients... It cannot replace a doctor, but it can significantly reduce the risk of infection,” Dr. Meena, who is an orthopaedic surgeon and earlier headed an orthopaedic unit in SMS Hospital, said. He said the robots could also be easily disinfected and used multiple times inside the high-risk isolation ward.

In addition to the establishment of a fully equipped isolation ward, the SMS Hospital has converted Charak Bhawan on its premises as the corona outpatient department and care unit. Doctors are attending to the patients with influenza-like illnesses as well as those suspecting that they have coronavirus infection symptoms at the unit.

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