Nipah virus outbreak helped Asimov Robotics build robots in Kerala for COVID-19

The robots from the Saya Bot series, developed by Asimov Robotics will be soon stationed in public places where they can approach people and help spread the message.

Battling and surviving the coronavirus pandemic is surely the mission of everyone at the moment. But how about few robots joining us in the fight against COVID-19? A first in the country, two humanoid robots developed by Kochi-based Asimov Robotics are helping to raise awareness about the spread of coronavirus among people in Kerala. The robots distribute masks, sanitisers, and napkins in the startup complex in Kochi.

In addition to providing visitors with hand sanitisers and masks and sensitising on the importance of personal hygiene, the robots also stream videos and brief them regarding social distancing and other steps to be taken to prevent further spread of the virus.

(Image: Manorama Online)

The robots from the Saya Bot series, are developed by Asimov Robotics under the Kerala Startup Mission. They are currently deployed at the entrance of the integrated startup complex in Kalamassery. These robots will be soon stationed in public places where they can approach people and help spread the message.

However Jayakrishnan T, Founder and CEO of Asimov Robotics in conversation with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory Media, said that this idea was patented during the Nipah Virus outbreak that affected the state twice.

“One of the main use cases of these humanoid robots was for caregiving to elderly, differently-abled and sick people. We were prepared for that. That is when Nipah Virus happened twice in Kerala. We thus patented the use case of treating people during these contagious diseases. We wanted it implemented this and that is when the Coronavirus outbreak came.”

He further added that there were two main reasons for having robots for awareness campaigns. Firstly, he says that the people were not taking the situation seriously inspite of having information in the media. These humanoid robots supplemented with audio visual aids proved to be effective in creating awareness.

"Secondly, the robots gave accurate information effortlessly all day as well answer queries related to coronavirus," said Jayakrishnan.

However as people are now quite aware about the virus, as a next step, the team equipped the robots with thermal imaging. Under this, if the user keeps their hands under the robot's palm, it will spray the sanitiser. The robots will also frequently clean the door handles. It also has a UV-disinfector where the user can keep the currency and their mobile phones and within seconds, it will disinfect it.

The thermal camera sensors will also analyse people’s body temperatures and advise those with a high temperature to consult with the health department. The team is already looking into changing their software interface for the specified task. 

According to the founder, this will be deployed in the next couple of days.

Watch the video here,

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)


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