IR Home /  Newsroom /  News

News

'Hapybot' rolls in to protect medical staff

BackMay 30, 2020

Mahidol University (MU) yesterday launched "Hapybot", smart robots designed to reduce the risk of medical personnel being exposed to the coronavirus.

'Hapybot' medical assistants are unveiled at Mahidol University yesterday. Three of them will help take care of patients at its three hospitals during the pandemic, delivering medicines to patients and facilitating their communication with hospital staff. Chanat Katanyu

The wheeled-robots were developed in cooperation with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the tech firm Netbay.

According to the university, the new robot can be used for tasks such as delivering meals and medicine or providing a video conference link between patients and doctors.

"The robots can help medical staff reduce contact with infected patients, track patients in the ward and care for them, and deliver meals, medical equipment and medicine," MU's acting president Dr Banchong Mahaisavariya said.

Dr Banchong said the robots can move as fast as a human and detect its surroundings, avoid obstacles and independently move toward the target area.

"They can serve as a go-between for doctors and patients or those being monitored. They can interact via high-resolution video conference with low latency, helping doctors to screen the infected and perform an initial diagnosis. Nurses, meanwhile, can manoeuvre the robots remotely, lowering the risk of contracting the virus," he said.

Dr Banchong added that each robot only cost half the price of analogs imported from abroad.

He said three Hapybots have been tested in three university-affiliated hospitals -- Ramathibodi Hospital, Siriraj Hospital and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases -- since April 24.

"The hardest part is we have to ensure that the robots will not create any magnetic waves which can disturb or damage other medical equipment and we've overcome this challenge by consulting with the NSTDA," Netbay managing director Pichit Viwatrujirapong said.

Dr Piyamitr Sritara, dean of the Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, said its robot is a boon to his hospital as it alleviates the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage.

"Two of our staff caught the virus from patients even though they were wearing PPE, so having the robots to reduce the risk and lighten the workload is really helpful," he said.

Soucre : bangkokpost