Spot the robot dog is ready to see you now for your contact-free vitals. Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital are exploring a new way to lower the risk for health-care workers amid the coronavirus pandemic -- by using Boston Dynamics' Spot the robot dog to remotely measure patients' vital signs. "In robotics, one of our goals is to use automation and robotic technology to remove people from dangerous jobs," Henwei Huang, an MIT postdoctoral researcher, said in a statement. "We thought it should be possible for us to use a robot to remove the health-care worker from the risk of directly exposing themselves to the patient." Using four cameras mounted on the dog-like robot, the researchers have shown that they can measure skin temperature, breathing rate, pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation in healthy patients.
Testing a patient for Covid-19 can be an unnerving experience for health care workers, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston are hoping to use robots to change that. Operating robots with a handheld device, medical workers may soon be able to talk with patients about their symptoms while measuring vitals -- all from another room. Researchers modified Boston Dynamics' dog-like robot spot to measure patients' vital signs. The researchers have been using a robot on healthy volunteers and are making plans to use it to test people who show Covid-19 symptoms in a hospital setting, the university said in a news release. "In robotics, one of our goals is to use automation and robotic technology to remove people from dangerous jobs," MIT postdoc Henwei Huang said, according to the release.
A hospital in Massachusetts has found another job for Spot, Boston Dynamics' dog-like robot: Doctor. The yellow-and-black quadruped has been proven able to take patients' vital signs from a distance of over six feet. That could allow healthcare workers to keep a safe distance from patients who may be infected with the coronavirus or other contagion. So far, Spot has only been tested on healthy patients at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital - the next step would be to try it out in an emergency room setting. Researchers at MIT say they've developed cameras that allow Spot, Boston Dynamics' dog-like robot, to take vital signs from more than six feet away.
In the U.S., at least 5,400 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers treating COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients have contracted the disease themselves. Of those medical professionals, dozens have died--and that's a conservative estimate. Treating patients with a virus that can live on surfaces for days and propagate through the air in respiratory droplets is dangerous, life-threatening work no matter how you slice it. That's why some Boston-area hospitals have turned to an unlikely assistant: a robotic dog named Spot. "Starting in early March, [we] started receiving inquiries from hospitals asking if our robots could help minimize their staff's exposure to COVID-19," Boston Dynamics, the maker of the robot, said in a blog post Thursday.
Robot maker Boston Dynamics is lending the service of its robotic dog Spot during the coronavirus pandemic. The four-legged machine is helping healthcare workers at Brigham and Women's Hospital of Harvard University treat coronavirus patients remotely to limit the risk of contracting the virus themselves. A custom mount and attachment for a notepad has been added to its design, allowing doctors and other healthcare workers to video conference with patients in testing tents outside of the hospital. The process usually needs up to five employees, but with Spot, the Massachusetts hospital is able to reduce their staff's exposure to the coronavirus and conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). This project has opened up a new world of telemedicine for Boston Dynamics, as it is now exploring ways to use Spot robots in collecting vitals needed to fight the pandemic.