City hospital shows off new robot fleet

City hospital shows off new robot fleet

Nine robots, developed by the Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital of Mahidol University and Toyota Motor Thailand, are programmed to reduce physical contact between frontliners and Covid-19 patients. Two of the nine will be utilised at Ramathibodi Hospital while the rest will be delivered to hospitals in the South, namely Patong Hospital in Phuket, Yala Hospital, Pattani Hospital and Satun Hospital. Apichit Jinakul
Nine robots, developed by the Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital of Mahidol University and Toyota Motor Thailand, are programmed to reduce physical contact between frontliners and Covid-19 patients. Two of the nine will be utilised at Ramathibodi Hospital while the rest will be delivered to hospitals in the South, namely Patong Hospital in Phuket, Yala Hospital, Pattani Hospital and Satun Hospital. Apichit Jinakul

Ramathibodi Hospital on Friday paraded a company of new robots, designed and built with the assistance of Toyota Motor Thailand, that it hopes will reduce contact between Covid-19 patients and medical staff.

A prototype was developed in March, "but it too bulky and slow so we turned to Toyota Motor Thailand for help. Within 10 days of working together, we overcame the problems", Dr Sorayouth Chumnanvej, a neurosurgeon at the hospital and head of the team that came up with the idea, told the media on Friday.

Dr Sorayouth said each robot weighs only 40 kilogrammes and can carry up to 10kg. They cost 100,000 baht to make and are operated via remote control over the hospital's wi-fi network.

Two of the robots have already been put to work on a ward for male Covid-19 patients where they are used for simple tasks such as delivering meals and medicine or providing a video conference link between patients and doctors.

Dr Piyamitr Sritara, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said that the hospital and Toyota Motor Thailand would now deliver seven similar robots to hospitals in the southern provinces, namely Patong Hospital in Phuket, Yala Hospital, Pattani Hospital and Satun Hospital to help with Covid-19 cases.

A nurse who identified herself as "Or" told media at the briefing that the robots had become a valuable asset to her medical team.

"Covid-19 is very new for us. At the beginning of the outbreak, medical staff were unhappy when having close contact with the patients. These robots have already helped to lessen our worries," said the nurse.

Michinobu Sugata, president of Toyota Motor Thailand, said that the project was an opportunity for the company to use its expertise to support Thai public health care and it had been pleased to help.

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