Testing people for COVID-19 typically involves performing a throat swab to collect a sample for processing. Clinicians performing this task have to wear a complete package of personal protective equipment (PPE), something that can be very uncomfortable over long periods of time. Moreover, since sampling is now widely performed outside of a clinical facility and the weather is hitting summer temperatures in the northern hemisphere, the discomfort for clinical staff can be harrowing.
In just four weeks, a team of the best robotics researchers from the University of Southern Denmark has succeeded in developing the world’s first fully automatic throat swab robot, scheduled to swab the first patients for Covid-19 already by late June. The prototype has successfully performed throat swabs on several people. The scientists behind are cheering: The technology works!
With a 3D printed, specially designed disposable tool, the robot holds a swab and hits the exact spot in the throat from which the sample is to be collected. Subsequently, the robot puts the swab into a glass and screws the lid on to seal the sample. And the researchers have tested the robot.