In India, the country with the world’s second-highest number of Covid-19 cases, a handful of hospitals has started to use robots to connect patients with their loved ones and assist healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Bangalore-based Invento Robotics has designed three robots to carry out tasks ranging from disinfecting surfaces to answering patient questions and enabling video consultations with doctors.
Of the eight the company has so far deployed, the most popular model is Mitra, which means friend in Hindi and costs around $10,000. Using facial recognition technology, the robot can recall the names and faces of patients it has interacted with.
Mitra can roam around a hospital independently, helping patients connect with family and doctors via its cameras and a video screen attached to its chest.” Mitra can be the nurse’s or doctor’s assistant, take readings and vitals, remind them of medications,” says Balaji Viswanathan, CEO of Invento Robotics.
He says the human-like robot engages with patients and gains their trust. “It may sound ironic but we are using robots to bring humanity to hospitals”.