- An Egyptian mechanical engineer created a robot that can test patients for COVID-19.
- The robot is remote-controlled by a health professional, reducing the risk of transmission.
- Robots have been used in fighting the coronavirus around the world.
A robot that looks straight out of the uncanny valley is performing coronavirus tests in Egypt.
Twenty-six-year-old mechanical engineer Mahmoud El Komy created remote-controlled robot is being used in Cairo, Egypt to collect samples for testing.
Measures like this robot could reduce the risk of transmission for medical providers, who have to get very close to people who potentially have infectious diseases.
Robots have increasingly been put to use since COVID-19 spread around the world. A team of doctors and researchers in Korea recently developed a remote-controlled robot that can take nasal swabs for COVID-19 tests.
In Boston, Spot robots were used to screen patients remotely, using iPads so doctors could talk to and visually assess them. In India and other countries, robots have been tasked with screening patients using thermal temperature guns, picking out people with fevers as potential COVID-19 patients.
26-year-old mechanical engineer Mahmoud El Komy spent more than a month developing this remote-controlled robot.
The current prototype, El Komy’s second, can take temperatures, collect mouth swabs for testing, and recognize when people aren’t wearing masks.
The swab used by the robot is the same PCR diagnostic test used in nasal swabs, though the robot collects them from the throat, which is also acceptable.
El Koby is working on his third prototype, which he hopes will also be able to collect nasal swabs.
The third prototype is also planned to mirror doctors’ movements more closely.
The robot can also be used in malls, airports, and other indoor spaces to screen people’s temperatures.
It moves via remote control on four wheels.
El Komy says that he hopes his invention can reduce the risk of transmission for hospital and clinic staff.