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Boston Dynamics is open-sourcing its robot tech to help hospitals fight coronavirus

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Gadgets for humans

We’ve seen Boston Dynamics‘ Spot robot walking, running, dancing, and opening doors. Now, the company has assigned it a more important task during the coronavirus pandemic: telemedicine.

In this new solution, the iPad mounted on the robot lets health workers communicate with patients remotely, saving time, reducing exposure, and preserving personal protective equipment (PPE). The newly developed application is already under trial in Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts. 

[Read: Elon Musk’s 420th Starlink satellite is more than just a weed joke]

Boston Dynamics said it’s open-sourcing this applications’ hardware and software design used for developers and robot-makers to develop solutions for  fighting coronavirus:

We developed the payload, hardware, and software for this application so that they are generalizable and able to be deployed on other mobile robotic platforms with APIs and capacity for custom payloads.

Today, we are sharing the results of our initial work deploying the robot with Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts and we are open-sourcing the hardware and software designs used to get these robots into the field. Our hope is that these tools can enable developers and roboticists to rapidly deploy robots in order to reduce risks to medical staff.

The firm is also exploring ways to measure body temperature, respiratory rate, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation remotely via Spot. It aims to gauge body temperature and respiratory rate through a thermal camera and pulse rate through an externally-mounted RGB camera.

At later stages, the team wants to mount a disinfectant technology such as a UV-C light on the back of Spot to sanitizer patients and surfaces around the robot. This can be used in unstructured buildings such as a metro station or a hospital tent.

You can check out design documents and the new application’s code here.

Published April 24, 2020 — 04:45 UTC

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