In monitoring COVID-19, Japan has the same strategy as most other countries. They want to check as many people as possible but also limit the risk to valuable and already overstretched medical personnel. To help sort patients who may have the virus and those that most likely do not, Japan is using robots as the first line of defense.
Called Paramedi Tapia, the robots sense when a person is near. They will then ask a series of questions about typical coronavirus symptoms including fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, and cold. Questions are both shown on a screen and said aloud as the person responds “Yes or No”. The interview takes about 20 to 30 seconds.
If the person does not appear to have symptoms of the virus, they are instructed by the robot to go to the hospital reception area. But if the person does appear to possibly be infected, they are guided to a separate area where they will be received by medical staff wearing protective gear.
Paramedi Tapia Robots Developed to Fight COVID-19
The robots, who come from Meguro based Shanti Inc, were initially developed for jobs such as healthcare reception, physical therapy support, and assisting senior citizens. When the coronavirus took hold in Japan, the company received numerous inquiries from medical institutions that sought ways to reduce contact between staff and patients. The development of the Paramedi Tapia was completed at the end of March.
The robots are currently in use at five locations in Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Okayama. If needed they can also be equipped with a non-contact thermometer to measure temperatures. As far as cost goes, each robot sells for about 300,000 yen ($2800 US).
Source: The Mainichi