The Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology’s Military Medical Academy has developed a robot called Vibot Version 1a (Vibot-1a) that can reduce the risk of exposure for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients. On 7 April 2020 a team of experts from the Ministry of Science and Technology held a meeting for the trial operation of Vibot-1a and recommended the use of the robot in quarantine facilities by the Ministry of Health.
The robot can carry loads of up to 100 kg, delivering food, medicine and necessities to COVID-19 patients, and taking out Medical waste and dirty clothes. In addition, it can play music, entertainment and news. It can also deliver voice and video messages to help physicians communicate with patients, and provide them advice and encouragement. It uses magnetic strip navigation technology and an identification card that enables it to move around in quarantine areas to perform its required tasks. Each robot can replace between three and five healthcare workers.
The Vibot-1a has a large capacity battery and automatic charging station and it can work continuously for 12 hours. It automatically returns to the station to charge when it is running out of power.
The robots are intended to reduce the risk of infection for doctors and nurses and enable doctors to focus their time and effort on critically ill patients. According to the deputy director of the Military Medical Academy the robots can be manufactured in large numbers within a week to respond to hospitals and isolation areas.
As a next step, there is plan to manufacture intelligent robots that can build their own operation maps, work in groups and interact with each other without depending on the control center.
(Sources: Vietnamnews; Vietnamnet)