The robot could reduce the time spent sitting in a hospital’s reception, which is a key goal of many hospitals during the pandemic.
Researchers at Umeå University in Sweden, in collaboration with Umeå’s university hospital, have trialed a thermal scanning robot that can spot people with high temperatures.
The robot uses an infrared camera, which has been deployed in airports and train stations in Asia to tackle COVID-19 spread, to identify people with a fever. It is also able to ask questions and provide a preliminary report to staff.
This could reduce the time spent sitting in a hospital’s reception, a key goal of many hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. The robot, according to the research team, may also be able to inform people of infection risks and warn people if they are sitting too close together.
“We have previously used infrared cameras in our research on driverless forest vehicles, as a way of detecting people and avoiding collisions. Now we combine that research with our work with AI robots that talk to humans,” says Thomas Hellström, professor of computing science at Umeå University.
The project is named RETHRO (Remote Thermal Robot), it uses the Pepper manufactured by SoftBank. The team plans to deploy it at Umeå’s university hospital, if the trial is a success.