A 23-year old Thane engineer has made a first-of-its kind ''Internet-controlled'' robot specifically to address the needs of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
The gizmo, aptly called ''Coro-bot'' independently dispenses food, water, beverages, medicines - and even some good advice - to Corona patients without the needs for nurses, ward staff or other care-givers.
Designed and created by Pratik Tirodkar, founder of a start-up PNT Solutions, Dombivali, recently, the first Coro-bot is currently deployed successfully at the Holy Cross Hospital in Kalyan.
"This aCoro-bot'' eliminates the need of physical presence or contact of nurses or ward boys with the patient. It can deliver food, water, medicines and interact with the patients through a camera. Through a speaker, it can also advise patients on various precautions like sanitizing their hands before picking up anything from the robotic tray," Tirodkar told IANS.
Most importantly, the company has created a special App to operate Coro-bot from any location in the world using Internet of Things (IoT) technology - a first anywhere in the world that this technique is being deployed in the medical field, he said.
The Coro-bot comes with 3 trays with a carrying capacity of 10-15 kg each, plus a 30-kg storage at the bottom, enabling it to serve the supplies to over a dozen patients at a time in the COVID-19 ward.
"There are separate dispensers for water, tea, coffee, besides sensors for sanitizers which flow out quickly when the patient holds his hand below it and cuts off the supply when the hand is removed. Thus there is minimum wastage," Tirodkar explained.
The Coro-bot also has LED lights illumination to make it convenient for night usage as well, timers for indicating lunch-dinner, emergency button, besides a small PC like screen on the top for basic computer work or entertainment, he said.
"Not only the COVID-19 patients, Coro-bot can also take care of itself. It has three nozzles at the back to give itself a disinfectant bath regularly, it goes on spraying sanitisers on both sides of the path, plus disinfects the ground it moves on by using UV lights," smiled Tirodkar, a B.Tech (Instrumentation Engineering) from Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Engineering, Navi Mumbai.
Impressed by its performance at one hospital, courtesy Shiv Sena Kalyan MP Shrikant E. Shinde, around two dozen hospitals in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) have ordered for the Coro-bot, which PNT Solutions hopes to deliver within a month.
Now, Thane Guardian Minister Eknath Shinde has indicated that Coro-bot is likely to be deployed in over a dozen other government and private hospitals soon in the district.
The unassuming, soft-spoken has other unique creations to his credit since 2016, when he had barely stepped into college.
These include the world''s first ''Humanoid'' with 47 body (axis) movements, a robotic bird Ornithopter for varied outdoor applications, a mini-packaging robot, and half-a-dozen other such hi-tech creations.
During his spare time, the young genius has delivered over a 100 guest lectures to brainy students at IITs and NITs around the country!
"The Coro-bot costs between Rs 1.60-Rs.3.80 lakhs, depending on various specifications like the load-carrying capacity, etc, and the Ornithopter is around Rs 30,000. I have a small manufacturing unit at Dombivali, but if I can get a good investor, I can get into mass production," he said.
On what inspired him to make Coro-bot, Tirodkar said he was concerned by the great risks confronting doctors, nurses, ward boys and other care-givers in the COVID-19 hospitals and decided to do something from them which was not only practical but affordable, resulting in his creation.
Marred by shortages of components, with Shinde''s help Tirodkar and his 8-member young team managed to make the prototype, but after lockdown certain parts would be available which would improve the overall look of Coro-bot, he said.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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