Visitors to the Orthopaedics wing at the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here are likely to come across a small robot that would be gliding across the reception area, giving out instructions on the protocols to be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Developed by a group of students from the College of Engineering Thiruvananthapuram, the CET-Covbot V1.0 can perform tasks such as automatic sanitizer dispensing, remote patient assistance, delivering food and medicines, collecting samples and specimens, in addition to announcement of COVID-19-related messages and warnings.
The mobile robot can be alternatively controlled using a joystick or it can be put on autonomous navigation mode. The robot has a user interface for remote user operation. Dynamic obstacle avoidance has also been integrated into the robot so that it would stop when it comes across obstacles, especially visitors in a hospital setting. It was developed by students of MTech Robotics & Automation (2018-20 Batch) under CET-Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (CCIR),
We had made a prototype of a robot as part of our project earlier. A few months ago, doctors from the Medical College reached out to our institution, asking whether a robot to perform these tasks can be developed. When we showed our prototype, they wanted us to develop a practical model of it. Five of us worked together for two months to develop the robot in its current form, says CET student Sanjuna Mariam Mathews, who led the team.
Ajmal M, Rojin Reji Philip, Harikrishnan. K, Arun Shankar. M are the other members of the team. The project was fully funded by Lighthouse, the alumni group of the CET 1987-91 batch. The robot is capable of carrying loads up to 40 kg and can efficiently perform transport and delivery of food and other necessary items. It is also equipped with a hand sanitiser dispenser as well as an interface for the patients to access telemedicine services.