Spot, the robot dog supports Covid-19 healthcare workers

Boston Dynamics robot dog Spot gets an update to help out medical professionals. (AFP pic)

BOSTON: US-based robotics and engineering company Boston Dynamics has announced that it has modified its robotic dog Spot so that it can assist healthcare professionals as they treat patients with the coronavirus.

For a couple weeks now, Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot has been employed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, supporting the facility’s medical workers in organising and treating Covid-19 patients.

While the company has been researching more ways to use Spot to reduce the exposure workers have to infected patients, the robot is currently being used to remotely triage patients; an iPad is placed atop the bot so that medical workers can video conference with incoming patients suspected to have contracted Covid-19 so that they can determine the severity of the case without ever having been in contact with the individual.

According to Boston Dynamics, all the technology created to convert Spot into a healthcare bot is open source “to empower mobile robotics platforms to leverage the same hardware and software stack that we’ve developed to help frontline healthcare workers.”

Following this milestone, the company plans to give Spot the ability to remotely check patient vitals like their temperature, oxygen saturation and pulse rate, as well as disinfect surfaces wherever hospitals need decontamination support.

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