During the current coronavirus pandemic, one of the riskiest parts of a health care worker’s job is assessing people who have symptoms of Covid-19. Researchers from MIT, Boston Dynamics, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital hope to reduce that risk by using robots to remotely measure patients’ vital signs.
The robots, which are controlled by a handheld device, can also carry a tablet that allows doctors to ask patients about their symptoms without being in the same room.
“In robotics, one of our goals is to use automation and robotic technology to remove people from dangerous jobs,” says Henwei Huang, an MIT postdoc. “We thought it should be possible for us to use a robot to remove the health care worker from the risk of directly exposing themselves to the patient.”
Using four cameras mounted on a dog-like robot developed by Boston Dynamics, the researchers have shown that they can measure skin temperature, breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation in healthy patients, from a distance of 2 meters. They are now making plans to test it in patients with Covid-19 symptoms.
Source: “Robot takes contact-free measurements of patients’ vital signs”, MIT News Office