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How a robot dog is helping with the fight against COVID-19

Necessity begets ingenuity, and in the case of Boston Dynamics and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it led to innovation. 

The internet-famous dancing robot named “Spot” created by Boston Dynamics has been adapted to facilitate contactless interactions between doctors and patients who believe they may have COVID-19. An iPad has been mounted to the front of the robot and a pouch added to the back, allowing healthcare workers to give patients supplies such as bottles of water without entering their room.

Hospital staff are saving personal protective equipment with their new robot coworker. Each time they exit and enter a patient’s room, healthcare workers change out of sterile gowns and masks, but this isn’t necessary with a robot designed for easy sanitation to take their place.

Spot also allows doctors to conduct contactless intake interviews with patients, as well as maneuver the robot to get a better view of patients to assess their condition—and at some point, it’s hoped that Spot can help take patients’ temperatures and disinfect a hospital room. 

Boston Dynamics and Brigham and Women’s Hospital are still finding new ways Spot can help limit healthcare workers’ exposure to the coronavirus. But either way, patients seem onboard with the robotic creature.

“Part of it may be that we’re in this strange world of COVID, where it’s almost like anything goes,” emergency medicine doctor Peter Chai told Wired. “I think everybody, at least at this point, is starting to get the fact that we’re trying to limit exposure.”

Sources: Boston Globe, Wired


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