Antwerp hospital employs robots to monitor temperature and face mask use

June 2020 Health of Tomorrow Willem van Altena

Since the start of June, visitors and new patients who wish to enter the University Hospital in Antwerp are welcomed in a novel manner. Instead of a receptionst behind a desk, people are met by a robot.

The hospital has only just begun to resume normal operation after having been in lockdown for two months, and an average of 2,000 people enter the building every day. In order to ensure safety and efficiency the hospital has called in the help of electronic assistants.

Questionnaire

People who arrive at the hospital have to answer an online questionnaire in an interactive kiosk. A robot will then assess their answers and check their temperature. The robot can even detect if people are wearing their face mask in the correct manner.

The robot is not able to test people for COVID-19, but it can detect signs of fever, and guide the person to a separate area. The robot is meant to perform simple and repetitive tasks, so that human staff can focus on their core job as care givers.

Corona crisis

The robots, named Cruzr Health, are designed by Belgian company ZoraBots, based in Ostend, and have been in use in hospitals, care homes and even hotels since 2013. But the corona crisis and the surrounding safety precautions in hospitals has created a new demand for this technology.

According to ZoraBots’ CEO Fabrice Goffin, the Cruzr Health robots are more useful than a fixed computer terminal. “The big advantage of this robot is that the robot can move, can go towards people, can speak to people and speak in their native tongue. It speaks more than 53 languages.” The Cruzr Health robots, that are manufactured in China, are also capable of checking the temperature of up to 200 people per minute, using infrared sensors. And they can even speak and remind people to wash their hands or wear a face mask.

Rwanda

The ZoraBots robots cost 30,000 euros and have also been sold to clinics in France, the Netherlands and the United States. They even turn up in Africa: the United Nations has donated five Cruzr Health robots to Rwanda. ZoraBots has a branch there. The Cruzr Health robots now ‘work’ at a hospital in the capital Kigali. Another ZoraBot, James, is also being used in care homes and hospitals such as the ZNA Middelheim in Antwerp, where they provide videocall facilities for corona patients and the elderly who are most at risk from the virus.

Further reading

If you would like to know more, visite the website of Zorabots

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