Coronavirus: Belgium hospital employs robot to protect against COVID-19
A robot that speaks dozens of languages, detects fever and calls out people if they’re not wearing face masks properly is helping a hospital in Belgium limit the spread of coronavirus.
As patients arrive at Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) they are given a QR code to scan into the robot, which immediately checks whether they are wearing masks as required. If their mask is not properly covering their mouth and nose, the robot prompts them to correct that.
The robot, called Cruzr Health, also takes patients’ temperatures to screen them for fever. If that temperature is within range, mask-wearing patients get a green light to head to their appointment.
"The safety is the first priority, but on the other hand you don't want patients to wait," explains Michaël Vanmechelen, manager of UZA.
"You don't want there to be long queues, so the flow is very important too. We need to control, to check more than we did before and the robot can help us in doing these checks."
The robot will replace the need for a person to monitor the heat cameras currently installed at the hospital’s entrance.
And at €1,000 per month to rent, the robot will save the hospital money and manpower.
It speaks 34 languages and its designers insist it's completely reliable for the jobs it's been assigned.
"Of course if you ask me if it's reliable to detect if you have COVID-19 or not – not yet. But it's a robot that is also ready for many other possible diseases to come in the future, that will be probably combined with fever and other things."
It's deployed at this hospital for now, but robots like this one can be used all over to support the fight against the coronavirus.