The Spot robots, developed by Boston Dynamics, are used in many applications, from surveying a Ford plant in Michigan to grazing sheep in New Zealand. The company also announced earlier this year that Spot could help coronavirus patients. Now researchers at Boston Dynamics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced that they have jointly created a modification of Dr. Spot. This is a robot that is able to measure the vital functions of a patient without a doctor’s contact with a potential patient.
Spot four-legged robots are designed to be able to successfully navigate (autonomously or remotely) in conditions that wheeled robots cannot. During the creation of the Dr. Spot researchers have equipped the robot with “non-contact monitoring systems” that use radio signals and radar sensors to measure vital signs such as respiration and heart rate. Infrared cameras were used to measure temperature. The robot also has a tablet that allows doctors to communicate with patients remotely. Researchers tested Dr. Spot on volunteers at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Ultimately, the researchers argue that Dr. Spot can not only help conserve scarce personal protective equipment, but it can also help curb coronavirus transmission by separating hospital staff from patients.