In a fast response to the COVID-19 crisis, a team of robotics researchers at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) designed and developed a prototype of a groundbreaking automatic throat swab robot in just four weeks. The prototype was launched in the end of May, and now the robot is ready to embark on pilot projects and international collaborations.
Lifeline Robotics, which is owned jointly between the University of Southern Denmark, Norrsken Foundation, and REInvest Robotics, aims to take the swab robot from prototype to market in record time. The company experiences great interest from many countries around the world who seek the opportunity to enable fast COVID-19 testing on a large scale. Currently, Lifeline Robotics is in dialogue with various countries including India, USA, South Africa, and Indonesia.
Recently, the Indian Ambassador to Denmark, Mr. Ajit Gupte, visited Healthcare DENMARK in Odense for an introduction to the Danish healthcare transformation and innovation. During his visit in Odense, he also met with Lifeline Robotics at the venue of Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark for a demonstration of the swab robot, and he was very impressed by the potential of the innovative machine.
The new machine automates the testing process and thus reduces the risk of infection among healthcare staff and patients. Furthermore, automation also reduces the risk of human errors while increasing consistency and data quality.
When the patient has scanned his or her ID-card (the Danish national health insurance card), the robot prepares a sample kit, consisting of a container with a printed ID-label. It picks up the swab and identifies the right points in the patient’s throat through artificial intelligence-based computer vision. The swab test is conducted gently and securely in a fully automated process that takes about seven minutes in total - and the swab itself only 25 seconds.
The innovation process for developing the robot was made possible due to the unique and well-organized cluster of automation and robotics companies in Odense - a strong national cluster, which includes more than 130 companies, that focuses on internationalization and provides an extensive network of global partners.
Read more about Lifeline Robotics here.