A Mexican robot is a useful tool in the battle against the coronavirus

RoomieBot COVID-19, a Mexican robot capable of measuring temperature and oxygen in the blood and verbally interacting with patients to identify coronavirus symptoms, is already operating in banks, supermarkets and, soon, in a public hospital.

As in science fiction, the coronavirus pandemic has made the interaction between humans and robots natural today and even more so when the best barrier to contagion is to avoid social contact.

"The pandemic opens the eyes of organizations to realize that robots are required to avoid one-to-one contact," Aldo Luévano, CEO of Roomie, the Mexican engineering firm that developed the robot, told Efe.

Luévano explained that with the support of large technology companies they seek to demonstrate that the development of this type of technology and the implementation of robotics is possible in Mexico and that is why they developed, in just two weeks, a robot capable of helping in the diagnosis of coronavirus .

The company worked with two infectologists and relied on technology from Intel, which provides artificial intelligence and processing solutions to analyze large amounts of data, and from Amazon Web Services, which provides the cloud, machine learning and the analysis and identification of people and places through Amazon Rekognition.


Luévano explained that the company has been in Mexico for six years developing humanoid robots for assistance in sectors such as tourism, retail and banks and that the pandemic gave them the opportunity to create a robot to help public and private medical institutions to attend to possible cases of patients with coronavirus.

"(The robot) is programmed to perform hospital triage," he said. However, he said he does not seek and cannot make a diagnosis, he only guides people to know if they are suspected of suffering from coronavirus.

The Roomiebot COVID-19 is equipped with technologies to detect possible cases of coronavirus and therefore was developed in conjunction with two infectologists.

Luévano explained that this tool is equipped with a thermometer and an oximeter that allows the detection of dyspnea, or shortness of breath, a common condition among patients with the disease.

The idea, he said, is not to replace medical personnel, but to streamline the process of caring for potential patients.

With this tool, he explained, what is sought is to avoid the collapse of medical institutions due to lack of personnel by letting the first line of contact be a robot that, in case of detecting symptoms in a patient, can channel it effectively.

The robot is capable of identifying symptoms such as cough, headache, arthralgia, myalgia, odynophagia, rhinorrhea, conjunctivitis and chest pain and can also obtain demographic or clinical data to identify patients at increased risk for pre-existing diseases.


The need to avoid contact between people so as not to generate more infections, said Luévano, will force that, in a short time, these types of models help in the disinfection of spaces such as hospitals or workplaces, in the delivery of packages or in the support of information without human contact, minimizing the risk.

"From issues of delivery (distribution) of medicines and meals, to issues of robots that can count responses. You need to have use cases and contactless technology (payment without cash)," he said.

He stressed that at this time the Mexican firm has the capacity to deploy 100 robots that can be used in hospitals, companies and airports, and it is expected that in about two weeks they will have a presence in at least one Mexican hospital.

Luévano explained that in the case of Roomiebot COVID-19, the firm is willing to operate in the co-investment model, in which the medical institution covers some costs of the robot's raw material to allow its use and impact to expand rapidly. , not only in Mexico but in other markets.

He noted that while the investment cost is high, this will never be compared to the value of a human life.

"Robots came not to replace humans but, in this type of pandemic, to give value to people," he concluded.

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