A robot specifically designed for collecting throat swabs has been deployed in China as part of a mass testing programme.
The robot, called ‘Lingcai’, can complete throat swab sampling for Covid-19 nucleic acid tests in a completely isolated environment – meaning neither a health professional nor the person getting tested is at risk of contracting or passing on the virus.
The robot is being used in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
According to local media, it is able to complete the required throat swab in ‘a fast and gentle fashion, and with greater efficiency.’
The robot was built by the Shenyang Institute of Automation, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They say the ‘droid can automatically register the subjects’ information, making the whole sampling process traceable and ensuring the authenticity of the sampling.
The institute hasn’t revealed how many robots are in use. However, each one supports multi-person sample collection and a processing mode for more than five people automatically.
It isn’t the first robot to be employed to fight the coronavirus with multiple hospitals employing robot workers to limit the spread of person-to-person infection.