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- A team at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials developed a robot to collect samples for COVID-19 testing.
- The robot is remotely controlled by a healthcare provider, reducing the risk of transmission between patient and provider.
- Robots have been used in fighting the coronavirus around the world.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A remote-controlled robot sticking a swab deep into the nose to collect a sample is one of the latest developments to fight COVID-19.
Doctors and researchers at The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) developed a robot that can be controlled by medical personnel from another room to take samples needed to test for the coronavirus. The team, led by Dr. Joonho Seo and Professor Nam-Hee Kim of Dongguk University College of Medicine, created the robot to swab the upper airways of people with COVID-19 symptoms.
The system is based on parallel robots, where controls by a doctor in one room tell the swabbing robot in the other room what action to take. Doctor and patient are also connected by audio and video, so they can communicate. The researchers expect this robot will reduce the risk of transmission for medical providers, who have to get very close to people who potentially have infectious diseases. Professor Nam-Hee Kim also noted that the robot could reduce the need for personal protective equipment because providers don’t need to interact as closely with patients.
Robots have increasingly been put to use since COVID-19 spread around the world. In Boston, Spot robots were used to screen patients remotely, using iPads so doctors could talk to and visually assess them. In India and other countries, robots have been tasked with screening patients using thermal temperature guns, picking out people with fevers as potential COVID-19 patients.
The KIMM robot could potentially be the most useful yet, because it doesn’t rely on symptoms but actually gives doctors the ability to remotely test people. Here’s how it works.
Business financial make money capital trading Patients in need of a COVID-19 test sit here, near the robot.
Business financial make money capital trading The process works by the medical professional controlling a remote device.
Business financial make money capital trading At the same time, a camera is focused on the patient so the provider can have an up-close look.
Business financial make money capital trading For the patient, the robot moves a disposable swab to take a sample through the nose.
Business financial make money capital trading First, the medical professional has to adjust the swab to just the right place on the patient, to align with their nose.
Business financial make money capital trading Meanwhile, the patient has their head in position.
Business financial make money capital trading Next, the swab is inserted as directed by the doctor.
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Business financial make money capital trading Next, the force of the swab can be remotely monitored by the provider, which KIMM says improves test accuracy.
Business financial make money capital trading Finally, the provider directs the swab to take the sample.
Business financial make money capital trading The target, highlighted in blue, is where the swab has to reach to get a useful sample.