Testing people for COVID-19 more often than not involves a nurse or doctor inserting a swab deep into your nose or throat to collect a nasopharyngeal (nose) specimen or oropharyngeal (oral) specimen which is then sent away for further testing.
The problem with this method of testing is that it takes up a large amount of time to individually test hundreds of people a day. It also puts vital healthcare workers at risk of contracting the virus.
To get around this problem and keep our healthcare workers safe, a group of Danish researchers from Southern University of Denmark (SDU) and Lifeline Robotics have developed a prototype robot capable of automatically swabbing a patient’s throat to test for COVID-19.
When an individual wants to use the robot, all they need to do is present an ID-card. Once the robot scans the ID it automatically prepares a sampling kit, performs the swab, and then puts the sample in a container which gets sent away for further testing, explains professor of robotics at SDU, Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu.
According to the developers, the robot is powered by Artificial Intelligence and uses a combination of onboard cameras and cleaver programming to both find the right part of the patient’s throat, and then gently swab it.
“You get exactly the same procedure repeated again and again which will give better quality of the samples,” Savarimuthu said to Reuters.
“There’s going to be a global demand, a global need for more testing, more automated testing, to protect and shield those that are in the front line,” said the chief executive of Lifeline Robotics, Soeren Stig.
Take a look at the Swab Robot in action below: