At the beginning of the new month, many employees will return to offices and production halls. However, systematic health monitoring is still needed to prevent new outbreaks.
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark in cooperation with Lifeline Robotics have built a solution that will allow you to monitor your health, reducing the need for human intervention. It is a fully automated robot designed to take swabs from the pharyngeal cavity.
As the creators assure, this is the first such device in the world and is the researchers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The functional prototype of the device successfully performed a series of several swabs and from the end of June the device can be put into service.
Using 3D printing technologies, it was possible to create not only the elements of the robot, but also the construction of the frame, which forces the right way of positioning the participant’s head during the study to make it effective and safe. The robot makes a swab by touching the inside of the mouth, then inserts the swab into the tube and protects it from contamination.
According to Kim Brixen from the University Hospital in Odense, involved in the project, robots are a great alternative to human activities that are characterized by repetition and monotony. In addition, the robot, unlike human swabs, is obviously immune to infection. The device has great potential of application not only in the medical sector, but also in the case of border control (e.g. at airports).
As the developers say, their device will be possible to use as early as next month. They admit that the priority for them is to promote their solution to reach as many users as possible and allow them to prepare for the onset of the second autumn wave of infections.
3D printing technology has also helped to increase swab production efficiency. In response to the appeals of many hospitals and healthcare facilities, the American 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs got involved in the 3D swab printing project. The 3D printing initiative for this equipment was also supported by a large company from the 3D resin printing industry – EnvisionTEC. According to them, a single 3D printer Envision One is able to produce up to 2400 swabs in 24 hours.