Cuttack: In an effort to ensure safety of health workers in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, state-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Cuttack has developed a portable walk-in kiosk for collecting samples from suspected coronavirus-infected persons, an official said on Thursday.
Inspired by a similar initiative taken by medical staff in South Korea, a dedicated team of 4 skilled trainers of the institute started working on the project and developed the mobile sample collection unit, its principal Hrushikesh Mohanty said.
This will help health workers maintain social distancing norms while collecting samples from people, he said.
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The walk-in sample collection kiosk is a mobile cubicle with a sealed glass on its front side that protects the health personnel from getting infected with the virus while collecting the samples, he said.
"Gloves are fitted with the front side of the kiosk, through which a health worker standing inside the cubicle can collect samples.
"The entire structure is supported with wheels at the base for its mobility and has internal electrical fittings.
Swabs can be collected without direct exposure and contact," Mohanty said.
The gloves can be sanitised from outside after collection of swabs, he said.
A sample collection kiosk costs around Rs 30,000 and will reduce the requirement of personal protective equipment, he said.
Such mobile sample collection units have also been installed in hospitals in Kerala and Jharkhand.
Skilled trainers from fitting, electrical, painting and carpentry trades have collaborated for making the mobile unit in six days, the principal of the institute said.
The work for finding innovative solutions in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak was entrusted to the ITI by the state's Directorate of Technical Education and Training (DTET).
A team of the institute has already developed two service robots to be deployed in Covid hospitals, Mohanty said.
Odisha reported 128 COVID-19 cases so far and a total 31,696 samples have been tested across the state, a health department official said.
ITI Cuttack develops low-cost robots to combat COVID-19
Joining the fight against Covid-19, the government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Cuttack has developed two low-cost robots, which can save health workers from the infectious virus and reduce the need for personal protective equipment.
The cost of each robot is expected to be around Rs 2.5 lakh, ITI-Cuttack principal Hrushikesh Mohanty said.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the institute had constituted an innovation team that developed the robots in its laboratory, in association with SAK Robotics Lab, a start-up, Mohanty told PTI.
One of the two robots is a service robot, named CO-BOT (Corona Combat Robot), which can move on wheels and has a humanoid structure. Its hand-like structures can hold a tray and carry a load up to 20 kg, the principal said.
It can be used in COVID-19 hospitals for carrying food, water and medicines to and from patients. "This will reduce the risks to attendants serving the COVID-19 patients," he said.
The wireless communication protocols being used to control the robot can be further programmed with navigation and mapping to make them work autonomously in a hospital ward, Mohanty said.
The second one, named NIGA-BOT, is a telepresence robot which can be used for surveillance and teleconsultation by doctors who can interact remotely with patients through live video streaming. This robot is also enabled with a wheeled mobile platform and has an interactive device for video calling.
NIGA-BOT can be used by health workers who have to make several rounds to the patients' bed for monitoring their health.
"This will protect the doctors and nurses from contracting the virus during such interactions.
"All these innovations would lead to reduced need for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and could be a saviour for health workers," he said.
These are low-cost robots developed by the institute to meet the emergent needs following the coronavirus outbreak, Mohanty said.
Once medical professionals spell out their specific requirements, new features will be integrated into the robots, he said.
The office of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also hailed the job done by ITI, Cuttack in collaboration with SAK Robotics for using their skill to strengthen Odishas fight against COVID-19.
Founder and CEO of SAK Robotics Lab, Sakyasingha Mohapatra said, the start-up has provided the required technology in the joint venture to strengthen the battle against the deadly virus.
"The institute has a dream and desire to use industry automation to impact the lives of ordinary people," the ITI principal said.