Robot ‘nurses’ to serve food, medicines to Covid-19 patients in Gurugram soonUpdated: Apr 25, 2020 23:20 IST
Some hospitals in the city have started using robots to disinfect their premises without human intervention. Soon, the robots will also be used to serve food and other essential items like medicines to Covid-19 patients. The move is aimed at reducing the risk of infection for medical and sanitation staff at the hospitals.
On Friday, the Civil Hospital in Sector 10 deployed a robot to disinfect the floor in and around the isolation ward and sample collection lab. Called Novus Care, the robot has been created by a Gurugram-based company and provided to the hospital jointly by the district administration and the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG).
“We have tested how the robot cleans floors in the isolation ward and the sample collection lab, disinfecting the entire area. It is also designed in a way to give food and other essential items like medicines to Covid-19 patients,” said Dr Jaswant Singh Punia, chief medical officer, who was present at the Civil Hospital on Friday to check the robot’s functioning.
Initially, the robot will be used for disinfection purposes, and then for serving food and medicines to patients, Punia said.
Novus Care has been developed by The High-Tech Robotics Systemz Ltd (THRSL). Anil Saharan, product owner of THRSL, said that the robot has been designed to help doctors, nurses and staff to reduce contact with suspected/confirmed Covid-19 patients.
“The whole purpose of these robots is to disinfect the hospital premises and ensure that they give food and other essential items like medicines to Covid-19 patients. It will lower any chance of contracting infection by the patient, and medical and support staff at sensitive areas within the hospital.”
The four-foot tall robot can clean a 10x10 room in 25 minutes. It is equipped with six sensors which help in navigation and mapping, and detect any obstacle during the movement.
“The robot can be remotely accessed. It moves with a maximum speed of 1 metre/second and can be controlled through a laptop or a tablet. The robot has an internal wi-fi mechanism through which it can be directly connected with the laptop or the tablet,” said Saharan.
It took Saharan and his team four days to modify the basic robots for Covid purposes during the lockdown. “We had to modify the basic robots as per the Covid-19 requirements, like adding trolley, spraying and fogging mechanism. The challenge was to get raw material during the lockdown. We approached Munish Sharma, additional labour commissioner, for permission to visit our unit and start the modification work. We were allowed to approach vendors, who provided us the material and we finalised the robot in four days.”
Fortis hospital in the city has also started using a robot for disinfection purposes. On Friday, Milagrow Robots provided ‘Indoor Disinfection Robot’ to the hospital.
Dr Ritu Garg, zonal director, Fortis hospital, said, “The robot will help minimize the exposure to patients and health care workers’ contact with possible spores. This is a big step in our commitment to ensure the safety for all our patients and staff.”
The hospital authorities, however, said that they are currently not using the robot for the Corona ward.
Rajeev Karwal, founder chairman, Milagrow Robots, said that building a modified robot especially in the Covid-19 situation was challenging. “The district administration allowed us three curfew passes to work on our robots. We worked 72 hours non-stop at our unit to add features that could cater to hospital requirements at the time of the pandemic,” said Karwal.
The Gurugram-based company built the 11-cm robot with 25 different types of sensors which is fully independent in terms of navigation, but can be controlled through a mobile application.
Karwal’s team also modified the water tank in the robot that sprays 1% sodium hypochlorite solution, which allows the killed bacteria and viruses to settle on the ground and to be easily cleaned by mopping.
“The robot can disinfect and sanitise the floor of the hospital without any human intervention. The robot moves around autonomously without falling, avoiding obstruction while planning its own path. It is guided by LIDAR and advanced SLAM technology,” said Karwal.
He has patented the technology used in building the robot. “It is ‘Real Time Terrain Recognition’ technology (RT2RT) that scans at 360 degrees, six times per second to make a floor map in real time,” said Karwal.
Karwal’s team has also developed a robot -- Humanoid ELF -- that enables doctors to monitor and interact with patients remotely with no person-to-person contact, thereby significantly reducing the transmission risk. According to him, patients in isolation wards can also interact with their relatives through this robot. The Humanoid ELF can navigate around the ward independently and record the activities in high definition video and audio.