Necessity is the mother of invention, and the ongoing global fight to stave off COVID-19 pandemic, has spurred all manners of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to help us make the best of this situation. By this, the project definitely does not mean there was anything less before the pandemic. After SEE exams were postposed by Nepal Government, we, Robotics Association of Nepal[RAN] planned of responding against this COVID19 with all the tools and technologies. After brainstorming with the core team members of Robotics Association, we came up with the idea of forming Drone Rapid Response Team as lockdown was about to announce and COVID19 was affecting the whole world, we wanted Drones to monitor the people's movement so that we can control the chain development of COVID19.
Soon RAN's President Er. Bikash Gurung saw Fake News spreading in people's inbox which needed solution for RAN's awareness team started True News in Nepal and Fake News in Nepal. Not much successful campaign, yet was able to aware people about the impact of fake news. This particular two initiatives clicked if strong and robust Robotics and Tech Community can respond against COVID19, he soon put an FB status what can be built to fight against this COVID19. Community people started responding by commenting the problems and possible solutions.
Pankaj Japrel from Kantibir Tradelink commented Food and Swab collection Robots could be the possible solutions for the hospitals as nurses were fearing to treat COVID19 infected patients. News started popping out, death of COVID19 infected patients due to proper care and lack of food and medicine delivery to COVID19 patients. On other hand, Anil singh and Prithvi Chaudhary from Robonauts Ventures were planning to develop Air Ventilator. so, RAN's President along with Pankaj Japrel, Anil singh, Prithvi Chaudhary joined together at RAN Office. Prototyping started and soon Richan Joshi join hand with his skill on First Person View navigation and Sister Robot's mission started.
First Prototype of Sister Robot with Pankaj, Anil and Prithvi
The pandemic is affecting 95% of the globe (at least 187 countries and territories). Nepal is not immune. Its first case was reported on 23 January, and it took two months for another case to surface. But as of 31st July, Nepal’s Covid-19 tally crosses 19771 with 56 fatalities.. Physical distancing protocols are being followed here in Nepal, as in the rest of the world, more so since the country-wide lockdown that started on 24 March (and currently opened). There is good evidence that this measure has helped prevent an exponential spread of the infection. However, physical distancing is a luxury for some essential workers. For example, health workers who are in the frontline are more affected as they have been treating and caring for infected patients 24/7.
Within 7 days of collaborative effort, the prototype of the Sister Robot was ready and Robot was taken to the teaching hospital for testing with the permission from the Director of Teaching Hospital. Team had an interaction with the nurses at the hospital, and a demo of Robot on how it works was shown to the nurse. Further, they were requested to operate the Robot which was really successful. Nurses suggested video interaction facilities with the help of the Robot which the team took note. A Biomedical Engineer Ramesh Acharya suggested circular design for the frame system through the use of UV lights. Acharya also suggested how it was important to have curved shapes in order to avoid spaces for germs/bacteria or viruses to live in. Similarly, the Robot was tested at Armed Police Force (APF) hospital. The hospital has the highest number of beds in the isolation ward and 3 storeyed building, control room with CCTV live video feed. The development team operated the Robot from 100m distance smoothly within the isolation room, it took 10 mins to move the robot from one room to another. The APF hospital was quite impressed with the utility of the Robot and shared they would need 6 robots for the hospital. The demonstration was also given to Dr. Khem Raj Karki, Executive Director, Nepal Health Research Council (NHRC) who was impressed with the functionality of Robot and said that NHRC would implement it in Teku Hospital after the product version is developed. Thus, this encouraged us to develop Sister Robots in product level. Partnership with Nepal Engineers' Association[NEA] helped us build Sister Robot V.1 within 20 days of continuous work. The developed product version SISTER V.1 is currently deployed in Hetauda Hospital, provincial level hospital after the Robot was handed over to Hon. Chief Minister, Dormani Poudel, Province no. 3. The response from the nurse was very positive and they are using the robot for serving food and medicine to the COVID19 patient without any hassles. Similarly APF hospital,Teku Hospital and Butwal Yarn Factory Special Hospital has also deployed the second version of the robot with Support from Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology[RECAST], UNDP Nepal and Sagarmatha Engineering College.
Features of the Sister Robot:
With the help of this robot, food, medicine and necessary stuff up was easy to deliver to the patient in an isolation room and quarantine room. This robot is manually controlled by the remote controller from the distance of 300-500 meters helping to prevent spreading of viruses from COVID19 patients to the frontline health workers.
Battery & Charging methodology
i. Two Acid Battery of 12V, 7800 Mah will be used for this robot and it can last for around two hours
ii. It will take around two hours to full charge
iii. Easy charging and discharging mechanism. Auto cut when fully charged.
i. Robot will be controlled with Remote controller and it is easy to control robot
ii. Anyone with practice of around 2-3 hours can control the Robot.
i. For video Feed we will be using a First Person View set.
ii. 360 degree navigation camera in Robot giving direct 360 degree feed to the video screen.
iii. Video of pathway in the 7-inch rear view screen helps Robot Operator to see the Robot path and navigate it easily
Speed and Smoothness
i. Remote control can adjust the speed with ease
ii. Wheel system makes it easy and smooth to move in plain terrain.
iii. Stable robot body framework.
Automatic Sanitizer Dispenser, Waste Collection facility, video call mechanism are few important features of the Robot.
Budget Plan per Robot Development:
$1050 - Electronics and hardware Components
$250 - Human Resource Cost per Robot
$100 - Warranty & Guarantee Cost [O&M]
$200 - Fooding and Lodging Cost
$300 - Travel and Communication In and Outside Kathmandu Valley
$50 - Seedfund for Startup work.
$50 - Research and Development Cost (5% of the total budget)
$2000 per Robot.
Digital Certificate for all the Donors
Logos of the Companies supporting more than $500 in all the branding and social media share of the Robot.
Token of Love [ $1000 above] with thank you note from Hospital, Development team and local Governmental Organization
If supporting all the Startups, further conversation can be done and agreement can be reached.
Email us at [email redacted]
Robot Development Tentative Timeline and planning:
18 robots deployment at 18 Hospitals in and out of Kathmandu Valley within Six months.
Hospital Identification and Handover Approach [September 13, 2020 - September 19, 2020]
Robot Production : September 20, 2020 -December 20,2020
Agreement with the hospitals: December 21 ,2020 - December 30,2020
Testing at the hospital along with training to the nurses and technical staff:
January 1,2021 - January 31,2021
Handover for Deployment : February 1, 2021 - February 28,2021
Reporting & Documentation:
March 1,2020 - March 15,2020
Next Timeline: Further Product Development
Further Enhancements for Automation.
All Terrain Robot development works. Different Version of Sister Robot Development.
This fundraising will help us in development of the robots on a larger scale at its growth as the team will invest the amount generated for the development of the further Robots. Here are the outcomes we are expecting through the help of sister robots:
Supply of Food and Medicines, more safer interaction and automatic hand sanitization to all the COVID19 suspected/infected patients as Sister Robot supports Front-Line Medical workers who are mostly at risk during this vulnerable time. Sister Robot can also collect food wastes and garbage after food is delivered.
More than 25 Robots will be functional at COVID19 specialized hospitals within Nepal boosting the possiblities of promotion of Science, Technology and Innovations in Nepal.
“Home Grown” ideas and locally sourced solutions will be trusted and promoted.
More than 15 hospitals will provide high end tech services to COVID19 patients with proper safety.
More than 3000 COVID19 patients will get service from Sister Robots.
200 nurses/frontline health workers will be able to safely provide the services to the COVID19 patients.
More than 84000 Food packages and 3000 medicines will be supplied to the COVID19 suspected patients.
More than 500 kgs of waste will be collected and dumped safely without any risk to health workers.
The Himalayan Times on Sister Robot quoted “Sister Robot-Nepal’s answer to covid-19 treatment in isolation ward : As per Chaulagain, the robot is doing main tasks — food and medicine delivery, and video calling patients in the ward. “The robot keeps updating us about what the patients are doing, their situation through videos and photos. As such we don’t need to go to the ward risking ourselves. We also do remote-controlled food delivery to the patients. As there are a few patients in the ward, it is able to work throughout the day.”
The robot can hold weight up to 50 Kilograms and can distribute 50 packages of food at a time, thus making it easier for nurses to take care of the patient properly without worrying about food and medicines delivery and their exposure to infection. Also the robot would help in protecting doctors and health workers from the potential infection of COVID-19 while treating COVID-19 patients. The infected COVID19 patient with proper treatment and health care will not risk losing his lives, thus reducing the psychological impacts it can create to the community as well as family members.
We are looking forward to receive help from you all in saving our frontline health workers as well as COVID19 infected patients through proper care.
Sister Robots are designed and developed with local materials available, built by home grown engineers thus making it more cost-effective than the Robots available in the international market. Similarly, the project focuses on matching funds from different donors and corporate houses thus making hospitals worry less about the purchase of the robots. Similarly, the project is expected to provide jobs to 20 highly qualified robot makers during the process of robot development helping engineers work on their field of expertise and provide a good source of revenue. Kantibir Tradelink as a startup will be able to accelerate its Robotics product development journey and make itself economically sustainable in this field.
The Robotics and Tech community is excited to see the important role of Robots in fighting against COVID19. Similarly there has been a good message on Nepal’s ability to work on its own technological solution like Sister robot. This project is expected to be a role model project for the whole budding technological community as well. Sister Robots hope to bring Robotics and technological solutions at the forefront of the disaster response.
Psychological aspects: COVID19 People visit hospitals to get disease free but what if the same place is the dominant with no-treatment psychology. FrontLine health workers are afraid if they are exposed more to Patients, they might also get infected with COVID19. Hospital is the only place where people rely on getting healthy. Now both COVID19 infected and frontline health workers are in threat, what if the one who is the end hope of getting healed gets infected from this virus, where would the COVID19 go and be treated & cured? Hence such psychological state can be healed by mobilizing Sister Robots at each and every hospital.
Human Risk Description & Mitigation Aspects:
Frontline health workers are at high risk due to maximum exposure to the COVID-19 patients. According to Ms. Sabitri Ghale, one of the nurses at Bir Hospital, the current biggest concern of health workers is ensuring their own safety. Their passion for serving people has brought them there. But right now, they are scared to go to work and they are at the highest risk. In order to motivate and boost the confidence of the health workers, Sister Robots is exploring whether it could use remotely operated robots for non-clinical tasks like delivering medicines, food and general information to the patients in isolation wards and save lives of frontline health workers.
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Fundraising team: Robotics Association of Nepal[RAN] (4)