The five: robots helping to tackle coronavirus

The Guardian
2020-05-31 | Since 1 Month

A Boston Dynamics robot is being used to enforce social distancing in Singapore parks and to deliver medicines there. Photograph: Edgar Su/ReutersAutomatons have been chipping in with the effort to beat Covid, from disinfecting hospitals to delivering groceries
Boston Dynamics
Singapore park-goers have been reminded of their social distancing obligations by Boston Dynamics’ yellow “dog”. The robot hound is equipped with numerous cameras and sensors, which it can use to detect transgressors and broadcast pre-recorded warnings. The authorities have reassured locals it is not a quadruped data-collection device.

A Starship Technologies delivery robot makes a home delivery in Milton Keynes. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Starship Technologies
In Milton Keynes a recently expanded fleet of six-wheeled robots has been delivering food and small supermarket shopping consignments to hungry residents. The town’s large network of cycle paths makes it ideally suited to the knee-high machines, which trundle along at a top speed of 4mph. The company has been waiving its delivery charge for NHS workers during the crisis.

Danish UVD robots are helping to disinfect patients’ rooms in the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: IFR International Federation of Robotics/EPA

UVD Robots
These Danish UV disinfection robots are being rolled out in Chinese hospitals. The machines deploy powerful UV lights, which destroy the DNA or RNA of any microorganisms in range. This effect of UV is well known but is dangerous to use if humans are nearby. However, the robots are able to learn the layout of hospitals and go about their work autonomously when medical staff aren’t present.

One of the robots donated by the UN introduces itself in Kigali, capital of Rwanda. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

Zora Bots
The UN has equipped Rwanda with five anti-epidemic robots made by Belgian company Zora Bots to help against the country’s battle with coronavirus. The robots can screen a patient’s temperature, identify people not wearing masks and monitor abnormalities in how patients sound or look. They can also be used to deliver medicine and other essentials to the infected.

Robots replace graduating students at a ceremony in Tokyo. Photograph: Bbt University/Reuters

In Japan, OhmniLabs’ Newme robots have been used to replace quarantined students who were unavailable to attend their graduation ceremonies. The “telepresence” robots, which had a computer tablet for a head, were draped in an academic gown and each student made a Zoom call to “receive” their degree from a university official. A similar ceremony, using robots built by students, has been held in Nanjing, China.

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