A hospital in the Greater Noida region of India is helping its coronavirus patients connect with their friends and family through the use of a robotic assistant called Mitra, which means “friend” in Hindi.
Mitra’s ‘eyes’ feature facial recognition technology to help it recognize patients and people it has already come into contact with in the past. A specially designed tablet placed on its chest allows patients to virtually interact with their friends and family as well as medical staff who are unable to enter the wards, according to reports from Reuters.
“It takes a lot of time to recover, and during this time, when patients need their families the most, they are unable to visit,” said Dr Arun Lakhanpal, a doctor at the Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital in Noida Extension to Reuters.
Mitra was built by Bengaluru-based start-up Invento Robotics and is most well-known for interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in 2017. The robotic medical assistant cost the hospital around R222 641 [$13,600] and is mainly used by patients who are unable to communicate using their mobile phones.
Along with helping patients connect with their loved ones, it is also being used in remote consultations with specialists to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, according to Yatharth Tyagi, director of the company that runs the hospital.
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) September 16, 2020
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