Discrete and Process Automation

Watch: Throat-swabbing robot could automate COVID-19 testing

04 June 2020

Mass testing is underway globally to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, and the robots are here to help. Lifeline Robotics, a spin-out of the University of Southern Denmark, has developed a throat-swabbing automaton to scale and improve such testing while also keeping healthcare workers safe.

Two Universal Robots UR3 cobot arms and a custom 3D-printed end effector comprise the unit, which picks up The robot performs throat swabs so that healthcare professionals are not exposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection. Source: University of Southern DenmarkThe robot performs throat swabs so that healthcare professionals are not exposed to the risk of COVID-19 infection. Source: University of Southern Denmarkthe swab after the patient has scanned an ID card. The robot then uses its artificial intelligence-based computer vision system to identify the right points to swab in the patient’s throat. The process takes around 7 minutes in total, and the swab itself 25 seconds. Once the swab is complete, the robot places the sample in a jar, screws on the lid and sends the sample to a lab for analysis.

The robotic tester is expected to be ready for wide-scale deployment in the near term, and could find additional employment in mass screening for the virus at airports or for border control personnel.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com


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