SEP 07, 2020 8:00 AM PDT

Spot the Robodog Measures COVID Patients' Vitals

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

Hospital staff caring for COVID-19 patients face the greatest risk of exposure to the virus. A new dog-like robot designed by researchers at MIT has come to the rescue, promising to minimize face-to-face contact between healthcare staff and infected patients. The use of this agile mobile robotic technology was published in a recent study, showing just how transformative it could be for contactless monitoring of patient vital signs.

“We started to think about how we could protect healthcare providers and minimize contact with folks that might be infectious,” said Giovanni Traverso, senior author of the study. In partnership with Boston Dynamics, the team set about making Spot the robotic dog to work, guiding it to patients using a remote-controlled device.

Spot comes kitted up with a series of cameras: an infrared camera to measure the patient’s temperature, one that detects breathing rate, and others that can track blood flow, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation — all without having to make physical contact with the patient.

While Spot’s core technology is not new, the pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to use robots in unprecedented ways within the context of healthcare.

“I think collectively, as a community, what we’re recognizing is that there are many tools out there today from the robotics perspective, the sensor perspective, and really integrating them and really evaluating them in the field and seeing how they perform is part of the next step,” explained Traverso. 

“Really, what we did here is translating a lot of the work that other people have done, but integrating it and asking the question, is this something that could work? How well does it work?” Follow-up studies are focused on improving the precision of Spot’s onboard algorithms for processing patient data and identifying the cost and feasibility of integrating robotic technologies into hospital systems.
 

 Sources: TechRXiv, Fast Company.


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
APR 22, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Gum Disease Makes COVID Patients More Likely to Die
APR 22, 2021
Gum Disease Makes COVID Patients More Likely to Die
Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of COVID-related ICU admission and death, says a study by McGill Univer ...
MAY 27, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Breakthrough Diagnostic Detects TB Infections in Infants Sooner
MAY 27, 2021
Breakthrough Diagnostic Detects TB Infections in Infants Sooner
There are nearly a million cases of tuberculosis (TB) every year, and over 80 percent of childhood deaths from TB occur ...
JUL 06, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Undiagnosed Dementia Much More Prevalent Than Previously Thought
JUL 06, 2021
Undiagnosed Dementia Much More Prevalent Than Previously Thought
An analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study has yielded a startling revelation: 91 percent of people experi ...
JUL 15, 2021
Technology
Raman Spectroscopy Helps Track IBD Patient Response to Treatment
JUL 15, 2021
Raman Spectroscopy Helps Track IBD Patient Response to Treatment
While there have been multiple methods of evaluating whether a patient with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is respondi ...
JUL 22, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
"Smart Bandage" Keeps an Eye on Wounds
JUL 22, 2021
"Smart Bandage" Keeps an Eye on Wounds
Wounds are an ideal environment for microorganisms to thrive. Their presence can easily overwhelm immune defenses at the ...
AUG 12, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
AUG 12, 2021
Computers Pick Up the 'Sound' of Thyroid Cancer
Researchers have developed a new technology for the non-invasive diagnosis of thyroid cancer that combines photoacoustic ...
Loading Comments...