Social distancing is the new normal as COVID crisis accelerates and a state-run hospital in Kerala is deploying a robot as it embraces automation in medical care.
The General Hospital in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram will deploy a robot for caring COVID-19 patients soon.
Christened 'Lini the Robot', it was developed by Daikiba, a Thiruvananthapuram-based startup headed by Irfan Muhammed Haris.
It has been named after Lini Puthussery, the nurse who died while treating Nipah patients in Kozhikode.
The hospital has initiated the process to install the robot after a trial run conducted last month found it useful.
The robot, which can carry up to 30 kgs, can be used to distribute food and medicine to patients. Doctors and nurses can give directions to patients to use the services of the robot.
The 360 degree camera installed on the robot helps the medical team observe the patients round the clock.
An additional feature is the robot's ability to check the pulse of the patients and report it to doctors.
“We have designed it as a nursing assistant. We thought of developing such a machine as keeping social distance became imperative as part of COVID treatment protocol. The basic model was developed in a week and we keep updating it,” Irfan told Onmanorama.
The robot is managed using a mobile phone and it need not have internet connectivity.
“It is not yet completely automated. We are working on automating it to make it able to manage an entire floor of the COVID ward on its own,”Irfan said.
Irfan, a B.Tech in Electronics, owns another company, Hexcode+, which manages electronic components like boards and chips.
He ventured into robotics out of his passion and trained himself using online tutorials and YouTube videos.
Irfan completed B.Tech from North Malabar Institute of Technology in Kasaragod.
Daikiba has given a report to the Kerala State IT Mission and the Startup Mission seeking help to manufacture the robot on a commercial level. A N Ashik, P H Akshay, Gautam S Babu, Vivek Vijay, Vishnu Jyothi and Muhammed Shan are Irfan's team members.
Irfan said it was Vattiyoorkavu MLA V K Prashanth, who is the former Mayor of the city, who helped his team get access to the General Hospital.
He said the staff at the hospital were very cooperative and ready to learn the functioning of the machine.
A source in the hospital said they were ready to encourage the efforts of the youngsters.
“We will install it at the hospital only after it is fully equipped to carry out its planed duties. We hope the work will be finished soon,” an official said.