Engineering professors pose with the version two prototype of the IIUM Medibot medical robot, being developed for health workers to treat patients without risking infection from the COVID-19, at the International Islamic University Malaysia in Gombak, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, on April 13, 2020. (AFP/Mohd Rasfan )
Malaysian scientists have created a barrel-shaped robot on wheels that they hope will make the rounds on hospital wards to check on coronavirus patients, reducing health workers' risk of infection.
"Medibot" is a 1.5 meter tall white robot, equipped with a camera and screen via which patients can communicate remotely with medics.
The invention, built by scientists at the International Islamic University Malaysia, is also fitted with a device to check patients' temperatures remotely.
It is aimed at helping nurses and doctors working on the wards with social distancing, Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, a member of the team behind the invention, told AFP.
It cost about 15,000 ringgit ($3,500) to develop, and the university plans to trial it soon in their own private hospital, which does not treat virus patients, said Zulkifli.
If that proves a success, the scientists hope it can be used in government hospitals where people with COVID-19 are sent.
Malaysia has reported 4,683 coronavirus cases, including 76 deaths.
From Thailand to Israel, robots are being used in the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed over 110,000 people worldwide.
They are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the virus.
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