Healthcare workers have been identified as a group of professionals who are most at risk to the Coronavirus pandemic. One hospital in South Africa had to be closed to prevent further infection. Hundreds throughout the world have died.
This challenge inspired Prof. Coenie Koegelenberg to come up with the idea of a robot that can provide support to medical professionals to still take care of patients whilst they maintain social distancing. This gave birth to Quintin – the robot who is currently providing support at Tygerberg Hospital. Quintin has promoted better communication between doctors and Covid-19 patients.
Intensive-care specialists at Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, have called on the uniquely-skilled Quintin, who can’t catch the coronavirus, to broadcast ward rounds on Covid-19 patients as well as reduce the risk of his peer specialists catching the disease or spreading it themselves.
The robot is essentially an iPad with a zoom camera that is fitted on top and a speaker on the bottom. This allows robot controllers to enhance the sound and quality of the image. Each member of the team can sign in through a login system provided they have access to some sort of terminal. Quintin looks like a computer tablet attached to a Segway. Made by robotics company Double Robotics, it stays upright using gyroscope and accelerometer sensors in its base. The robot is controlled remotely by desktop, tablet or smartphone. It communicates between patient and doctor through a microphone and a zoom function and can relay vital signs of highly infectious patients.
Quintin is pioneering a new chapter in South African health where robots will become a critical component in providing health services.
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