CTUT Lecturer Manufactured Robots Operating In Covid-19 Treatment Area

The robot product was invented by MSc. Tran Hoai Tam, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Can Tho University of Technology, has been operated in the isolation areas for COVID-19 treatment of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Can Tho Hospital. This robot has supported the medical team in treating COVID-19 patients quite effectively. Mr. Hoai Tam is continuing to update new features to be able to apply more in the hospital's treatment departments.

Mr. Tam (third from left) and staffs of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Can Tho Hospital are operating the robot. Photo: provided by BV

In March 2020, Can Tho City Tuberculosis and Lung Disease  Can Tho Hospital received treatment for 2 cases of COVID-19. The robot invented by lecturer Tam has been put into operation here, transporting medical supplies and daily necessities to patients in isolation areas for COVID-19 treatment. Through the camera mounted on the robot, the operator will "guide" the robot moving to the correct location. In addition to transport function, the robot also supports physicians to communicate directly with Covid-19 patients through the camera set on the robot.

Doctor Nguyen Hung Thanh Tung, who joined the team to treat COVID-19 patients, said: “Every day, in isolation areas for COVID-19 treatment, the hospital loses at least 5-6 protective suits, in which, more than half are used to give items to patients, not for treatment. Supplies are limited, so staff have been saved each set of protective gear. Therefore, they reported the situation to leaders for advice."

According to Dr. Tran Manh Hong, Director of the Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases Can Tho Hospital, in the isolation area, every time you transport drugs, medical supplies, living utensils, food, drink, garbage... protective gear is used. Each set costs more than 300,000 VND, so it is very expensive and the risk of prolonged epidemics will lead to a shortage of protective gear, not mention to the infected risk from patients to medical and service staff... From the report of the treatment team, the hospital assigned its youth union to find solutions to reduce costs.

After that, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Tram, Secretary of a youth unit in the hospital, and her team members started practical surveys, eventually exchanged and ordered robot with Mr. Tran Hoai Tam, lecturer of Can Tho University of Technology. Realizing the importance and meaning of this product, Mr. Tam accepted. “The young lectures has been very enthusiastic, responsible for designing the hardware, adjusting the features, perfecting the software of the robot to suit the needs and actual material conditions of the hospital,” said Ms. Tram.

The robot invented by lecturer Tran Hoai Tam is controlled in two ways: via remote or via mobile phone (via a wifi transmitter set on the robot). The robot can move flexibly for carrying essentials and medical supplies into the isolation area. After 3 weeks of conceptualizing, designing, procuring materials, assembling, installing... the robot was put into trial operation at the isolation area. Not stopping here, he continued to edit to suit the actual position of the hospital.

Mr. Tran Hoai Tam said: “I majored in mechatronics and automation, and my graduation thesis was also about robotics. Now, I am teaching this major in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, so this field has become part of my life and passion. Regarding the schoolwork, in addition to supporting students to participate in robotics competitions, I also gained certain knowledge through previous domestic and foreign research, so I has not faced many difficulties in designing and manufacturing”.

According to Mr. Tam, the most time-consuming stage was purchased materials and equipment for manufacturing. Due to the epidemic, orders must be performed online with far distances like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi. Besides, some equipment was not compatible, so operation does not meet the set requirements, and it took a lot of time to find another device. However, these limitations were overcoming and putting it into operation has received the supports of hospital’s medical team a lot. "After this robot, I have had more experience, so for following robots, time and costs will be saved and reduced significantly," said Mr. Tam.

With the advantage of efficient operation, low investment costs (the entire cost of materials and equipment is about 14 million VND) compared to the hospital's previous need to use medical supplies. With the mindset of joining hands in fighting the epidemic, serving the community, plus the sense of passion in research, Mr. Tam is continuing to research and update some new features for the robot such as disinfecting the isolation area, supporting treatment to contribute to maintaining safety and replacing medical staff at some stages.

Doctor Tran Manh Hong also said that in addition to operating in the isolation and treatment areas for COVID-19, the hospital also uses this robot to operate in the drug-resistant TB Department. This is a department specializing in the treatment of drug-resistant, pre-super-resistant and super-resistant TB. These diseases are dangerous and highly contagious. The robot invented by Mr. Tam has really made a great contribution to keeping the hospital safe and saving costs.

(Source: https://baocantho.com.vn/ )