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Robot to measure Covid-19 patient’s vital signs

Date: 03 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers have shown that a robot can measure vital signs such as body temperature and breathing rate in people, from a distance. 

 

Background

Health workers are the most vulnerable sections against Covid-19 as they are responsible for close interaction with patients due to their nature of work.

 

Details

  • The robot, called Spot, has been developed by Boston Dynamics, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Controlled by a handheld device, it can walk on four legs, similarly to a dog.

  • It can measure skin temperature, breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation in healthy patients, from 2 metres away.

  • In the longer term, the researchers suggest that these robots could be deployed in hospital rooms.

  • Healthcare workers can avoid exposing themselves to risk, by manoeuvring the robot to wherever patients are sitting. The robot can also carry a tablet that allows doctors to ask patients about their symptoms without being in the same room.

 

Functions

  • Body temperature

The infrared camera measures skin temperature on the face. An algorithm then correlates the facial skin temperature with core body temperature.

 

  • Breathing rate 

When a patient wearing a mask breathes, their breath changes the temperature of the mask. The infrared camera measures this temperature change, enabling researchers to calculate the breathing rate.

 

  • Pulse rate & oxygen level

When haemoglobin binds to oxygen and flows through blood vessels, it results in slight changes in colour. These changes are measured with the help of the three monochrome cameras, which filter lights of three different wavelengths (670, 810, 880 nanometres). Using these measurements, the algorithm calculates pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation.