Artificial Intelligence Helps Mitigate COVID-19 Outbreak

March 26, 2020

As coronavirus affects the lives of people all over the world, IoT is playing a role in managing the effects of the outbreak.

Artificial Intelligence Tracking and Coronavirus

Beijing’s subway stations are using AI to detect fevers in travelers at the station’s entrance. The system can measure the temperatures of fifteen people at a time, permeating hats and face masks. The system is faster than handheld scanners and removes station workers from the risk of close contact.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital are tracking the spread of the virus using social media, including posts, news reports, blogs and chat rooms. The collected data creates a live map of potential cases that can indicate the spread of disease and aid health organizations in taking action. The same algorithm has been used to track SARS and Ebola in the past.

Robots in Hospitals – and the Kitchen

Chinese hospitals are using robots that emit concentrated UV light to kill coronavirus and disinfect facilities. These autonomous robots reduce the risk of exposing health professionals and patients to the disease. Disinfecting robots are rolling out in other areas too. GermFalcon uses UV light to kill viruses and bacterial on airplanes. Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway acquired robots to disinfect behind human staff and spray hard to reach areas. Autonomous robots are also being deployed to disinfect residential areas.

In the US, a robot is communicating with coronavirus patients and performing diagnostics without the need for a doctor to physically be in the room. In China, a robotic arm is being trialed to take swabs and listen to a patient’s internal organs. A doctor still needs to operate the robot but does not need to directly touch patients. One hospital in Wuhan employs six different types of robots to aid medical staff in delivering medication, monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen levels of patients, disinfecting the hospital and leading patients in exercises. The robots take some stress off medical staff and allow them to focus their efforts in more critical aspects of patient care.

Food-making robots are helping prevent the spread of disease from human contact. Little Peanut delivers food to people in a quarantined hotel, where a tiny squad of robots work each floor. A catering company donated robots to Wuhan, China to provide meals to medical staff. The robots can work 24 hours a day and churn out 120 meals an hour, allowing staff quick access to food during their hectic schedules.

Drones for Disinfection & Delivery

Like robots, drones are being used in China to disinfect city areas. Drones also survey quarantine areas and urge citizens who venture outside to return to their homes. They make deliveries in Xinchang County, transporting needed medical supplies while reducing the risk of human contact. Companies are also using drones to deliver consumer goods like groceries.