The global Corona pandemic pushed the international healthcare systems to its limits. DIH-HERO reacted quickly and launched in 2020 a COVID-19 call as part of the Cascade Funding Programme with the aim of promoting technologies that can be brought into use quickly. 9 projects were funded, which then took a technological leap towards application.
ROB-ID (Robot for Intradermal Drug Delivery) – Voxdale
During the pandemic clinical demand clearly indicated the need for safe and sufficient vaccine coverage. In ROB-ID, robotics and delivery solutions were combined to introduce a novel and inventive robot demonstrator for safe intradermal vaccination.
Healthcare workers not being exposed to risk and vaccination coverage can be significantly increased by this technology. Intradermal vaccination allows for dose-sparing as only 10% of the dose is needed to achieve an equivalent immune response compared to intramuscular and subcutaneous vaccination. Additionally, the robot will ensure targeting the dermal layer and important vaccine doses will not be lost due to possible incorrect injections. Ultimately, the robot can serve the general public without the need for healthcare workers in close proximity to the vaccine.
These major project results have been achieved during the project period:
- Design and the integration of the ROB-ID demonstrator
- Verification tests were done to:
- Assess exact positioning of devices (XYZ) in the trays
- Cut tear off’s
- Test exact positioning of subject’s arm and site of injectionAction timings and sequence
- Device disposal
- Validation actions:
- Full software sequence
- Assessment of full functionality compared to User Needs
Lio, Autonomous Sanitiser and Assistant – F&P Robotics
The robot Lio is operating autonomously as a healthcare assistant. It opens doors, serves drinks, gathers lab samples from different wards, distributes mail and activates the patients with various entertainment and sport activities. These innovative applications, which were developed in close collaboration with the institutions, reduce the workload of healthcare staff members and improve the social life of the inhabitants.
During the COVID-19 pandemic two functions were set as a priority: disinfecting predefined surfaces and objects such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, light switches etc. and transporting items into patient rooms to reduce direct exposure. The disinfection routine was mandatory and overseen by the local health authorities. As of April 2020, F&P has developed prototypes of COVID-19 related functions and was ready to deploy them at elderly care homes in May.
The key point of the project is the UV light. UV light is noninvasive and one does not need the help of any chemicals to disinfect surfaces. The UV emitter and the voltage of 230V were the most important. Since the UV light dangers could be handled according to the EU directive and with some security measures software wise the main part was then the 230V. The security measurements were implemented immediately and according to ISO Norms.
The aim was to deploy UV disinfectant robots in radiology departments in a regional Irish hospital, to use them alongside existing cleaning procedures for reducing dependency on human staff and improving workflow/equipment utilization.
This robot technology can rapidly disinfect radiology treatment rooms using UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) technology. One or more robots are deployed in a radiology treatment room and programmed to follow a predefined trajectory, irradiating surfaces as it moves. Some degree of manual cleaning may still be required (estimated <5 minutes in total) while the robot is in the room. The system can reduce the time to disinfect rooms by a factor of 4-6X.
The two main project objectives of this project were
(1) an upgraded CE-marked robot deployed in a radiology treatment and programmed to follow a predefined trajectory while irradiating surfaces (fully operational in a hospital setting). This objective has mostly been completed just the CE mark process required a test period that was longer than the project’s duration.
(2) to reduce the time of disinfection by a factor of 4-6X, showing efficacy via a trial of the platform. This application was completed during the project.
Hocoma’s sensor-based system, Armeo®Senso, could provide functional movement therapy at home. The goal is a telerehabilitation therapy to patients without exposing them to additional risks through proximity with other patients/therapists. The therapist can set up a personalized therapy plan and monitor the adherence through remote connection to the patients’ computing device. Patients are thereby offered individually tailored arm and hand rehabilitation which they can perform from the comfort and safety of their own homes, while they can stay in contact with the therapist, thereby also reducing social isolation.
Major project results and impact created by the remote, data-driven therapy program:
- Tele-rehabilitation with ArmeoSenso is feasible and allows patients to train at home while being appropriately supervised by their therapists.
In more detail, the following major project results have been achieved:
- Working setup and use of a tele-rehabilitation system for training of the upper extremity, both as demonstrator in a simulated environment, as well as use in operational clinical environments (TRL 9);
- Instruction material for patients and therapists, tested and validated with clinical partners;
- Basis for marketing material for market launch later in 2020.
The solution has been verified and validated by the internal testing team and external clinical partners
STERYBOT – Efficient, autonomous disinfection robot using germicidal UV-C light
MetraLabs GmbH, Germany, develops STERYBOT, an autonomous disinfection robot that incorporates UV-C disinfection lamps. The 360° wide ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) eliminates up to 99.99% of viruses, especially SARS-CoV-2, bacteria and spores by denaturation of their RNA, and DNA, respectively, to stop their replication. Critical deterioration of sensitive surfaces on medical equipment is avoided.
STERYBOT derives the optimal routes inside the room to be disinfected independently and in such a way that as many surfaces as possible (floors, shelves, walls, ceilings, doorknobs, light switches, room air itself, etc.) are sufficiently well reached by UC-C-light. For additional safety, the robot detects people and immediately switches off the UV radiation. The navigation software is optimized to ensure a reliable localization and driving. The robot installation, as well as configuration of areas to be disinfected and operating times can be easily carried out by the user through a smartphone app.
DisiRT (DISInfecting RoboT) – Accrea
The DisiRT system is based on an off-the-shelf robotic platform designed by ACCREA in the course of past EU-funded R&D projects (Remedi, RAMCIP). The robot operates either remotely controlled by an operator with real-time visual feedback from a vision system implemented in the platform or autonomously in the target environment using a set of sensors. System integrated disinfection means certified UV-C disinfection lamps, automatic sprayer of a disinfection fluid, ozone gas generator and other disinfection means, implemented gradually in the course of the project.
The DisiRT system will be the first solution to provide multimodal disinfection possibilities while maintaining safety of the disinfecting procedure through advanced sensor-fusion system. It allows an unobstructed disinfection process in proximity to humans, and extending operating time due to easily replaced batteries and the ability to operate on AC power.
- Complete UVC robot system
- Testing in the Medical Center in Turka in Poland and in the “Labyrinth” Gallery in Lublin in Poland.
ARODIS (Autonomous robots for disinfection) – Kelo robotics
ARODIS is a fleet of autonomous mobile robots, which carry a battery of 6 or more 254 nm UV lamps (due to the lack of 222nm UV lamps) and move around a public environment to expose surfaces in the environment with 254 nm UV light with doses of 0.4 – 10 mJ/cm². At such doses the survival rate of germs is between 0.1 and 0.01%.
These robots are inherently safe, omnidirectional and have a high maneuverability, which enables them to move in narrow space and in close proximity to humans. Furthermore they are cost-efficient.
Within the scope of the ARODIS project three prototypes have been developed tested in a university (University Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin) and the hospital Stiftung Kreuznacher Diakonien (SKD).
- 99.9% disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 of a room in 4 minutes
- 100% autonomous navigation and disinfection of halls, corridors and rooms
- Lamp control that automatically turns off UV-C lamps when a person is detected
- Omni-directional and back-drivable platform
- Programmable disinfection tasks
- 4h+ operating time
UDS (Unmanned Disinfection Solution) – Rubedos Systemos
Rubedos — a Lithuania-based machine vision company — has designed an autonomous mobile robot that sprays vapor with a disinfection method. This technology utilizes ionized hydrogen peroxide mist spray, which is non-toxic and leaves no residual deposits on disinfected surfaces other than water vapor and oxygen. It is non-corrosive, friendly to various materials, and does not damage medical equipment and computers. It eradicates 99.9999% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including SARS-CoV-2. The room becomes virtually sterile.
This spraying disinfection solution was validated in the clinical settings and by the virus biomarkers.
- Unmanned Disinfection Solution prototype has been improved and integrated with the navigation software system.
- Mission planning software system has been integrated with Rubedos® VIPER™ Perception System.
- Primary premises map and network of routes design has been performed in the real healthcare environment.
- Solution has been verified in a laboratory setup.
- Solution has been installed, verified and validated at the healthcare facility.
- Disinfection efficiency and quality have been measured using chemical and biological indicators
A collaboration between PAL Robotics and Accerion provides a solution of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to support staff in hospitals or similar environments with movement of different objects such as medication, samples or food. The robot works autonomously and can be easily customized with other functionalities for monitoring health conditions through patient interaction.
TIAGo Delivery by PAL Robotics (http://pal-robotics.com/robots/tiago-base) in combination with Accerion’s positioning technology (https://accerion.tech/) allows Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to navigate autonomously, finding the best route around the hospital and avoiding obstacles. The modularity of the Hardware and Software on the TIAGo allows upgrading easily. Accerion sensors provide a robustness compared to the traditional lidar sensor, which will enable the movement required for hospital settings.
- Successful validation of the new navigation system in real hospital environment. Both hospitals involved in the project have shown interest in continuing the collaboration with PAL Robotics to automate intra-logistics processes in their facilities.
One of the goals of the project was to implement a more robust and sophisticated navigation system for PAL Robotics’ AMRs by integrating Accerion’s Triton camera.
The resulting navigation system features:
- Mapping using laser and Triton’s camera
- Obstacle avoidance mixing both laser and depth cameras
- Precise place recognition using Triton’s camera