CHANDIGARH: A team of researchers at IIT Ropar is aiming to develop a wardbot that will deliver food and medicine to COVID-19 patients in their isolation wards. The conceptual design is of a bot that can be instructed to receive and deliver food and medicines and the necessary equipment to every room from a remotely-located control room.
Lines drawn on the floor will help the IR-sensor-fitted wardbot find its way, the researchers say. The bot will have at least twelve shelves and a carrying capacity of 4 to 5 kg. It should be able to serve 10 to 12 patients. Once the bot reaches a room, the patient can pick his or her food or medicine from the shelves. The bed ID of the patient will be displayed on a small LCD unit fitted on the respective shelves on the bot.
“Available automated technologies are being utilised for the concept of serving multiple patients and beds in one round. This concept is based on the unmanned vehicle technology. The control room can instruct multiple bots to accomplish tasks simultaneously, say on different floors. Phase-1 deals with the development of a wardbot that can serve many patients in one round and this concept has been forwarded to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) by the IIT,” says Dr Ekta Singla, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, who is heading the team.
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She said, “This remote-controlled wardbot will provide food and medicine to patients without any human intervention. The patient will get the intimation through bed IDs being displayed on small LCD units. It should prove a big help to paramedic staff and help in ensuring social distancing even while delivering medicines in a big ward. The other features include self-sanitising on the return path. It can be used even to sanitise the walls.”
“All team members are currently working from home. We plan to provide robust support to the frontline workers to help them win this battle against the pandemic. We are also hoping for industry collaborations to take this concept to virtual use,” she said.