Based on the smart line following, WardBot, fitted with sensors, can work on a known path and can carry food items and medicines for delivery at different beds to patients. (Photo Credit: News Nation Photo)
A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar in Punjab's Rupnagar district has come up with a design of an autonomous 'WardBot' which can deliver medicines and food to COVID-19 patients in isolation wards without human intervention. Researchers working on the project said its deployment in hospitals will help in minimising the risk of the frontline health staff getting infected with the deadly virus.
Based on the smart line following, WardBot, fitted with sensors, can work on a known path and can carry food items and medicines for delivery at different beds to patients in a ward, Ekta Singla, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Ropar, said on Friday.
Singla, who is heading the team of the researchers, said the 'WardBot' uses simple gesture sensors for a quarantined person to wave a bye to the bot, as an indication of receiving the material. Patients will get the intimation through bed-IDs being displayed on small LCD units, she said.
The design of an autonomous WardBot is such that it can be instructed to receive and deliver food and medicines and necessary equipment from one room to the other from the remotely located control room, the researchers said. The control room can instruct multiple bots to accomplish tasks simultaneously on different floors, they said.
WardBot also has a feature of self-sanitising on the return path and could be used for sanitising walls of the hospitals, said the researchers, adding it can also work under low-light conditions. WardBot can serve as a support structure to the healthcare sector at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on minimising human interaction with the coronavirus patients, they said.
"All team members are currently working from home. We plan to provide robust support to the frontline workers to combat well in the battle against this pandemic. We are also looking forward to industry collaborations to take this concept to virtual use," Singla said.