UST Engineer Invents Robot to Help Fight COVID-19
An engineer at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) has invented a robot that helps limit the exposure of health care workers to COVID-19 patients. Engineer Anthony James Bautista created the telepresence robot, Logistic Indoor Service Assistant or LISA, which can be controlled remotely to go to patients’ rooms and facilitate communication between patients and health care workers.
LISA is equipped with a remote-controlled base that has wheels, a tablet, and a compartment box for delivering medicines to patients who are stable and conscious.
“The idea to develop the robot came to me when Dr. Rodrigo Calalang Santos asked me if there’s a possibility to develop a telepresence robot,” Bautista told Rex Remitio in an online interview. “Since I make robots for my other projects, I told Dr. Santos that it’s possible.”
According to Bautista, telepresence robots are very common in other countries, but the ones available for commercial use are very expensive. Bautista made sure that the prototypes he will make are affordable and easily replicated. For the LISA, he used spare materials in his laboratory.
The robot can be controlled by health care workers from a distance of up to 15 meters. It is also powered by Wi-Fi, which enables the communication between patients and hospital workers. The robots are sprayed with disinfectant every time it goes on a mission.
Currently, LISA is deployed at the UST Hospital. Bautista is working with the DOST for funding in improving the design and capabilities of the robot.