Egyptian inventor trials robot that can test for COVID-19


A volunteer is examined by Cira 3, a remote-controlled robot that runs tests on suspected coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients to limit the human exposure to the virus, amid a second wave of infections in Tanta, Egypt, November 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

TANTA, Egypt (Reuters) - With Egypt facing a second coronavirus wave, an inventor is trialing a remote-control robot which can test for COVID-19, take the temperature of patients, and warn them if they don't wear masks at a private hospital north of Cairo.

Mahmoud el-Komy, who designed the robot, called Cira-03, says it can help limit exposure to infection and prevent the transmission of the virus.

His creation, which has a human-like face and head and robotic arms, can take blood tests, perform echocardiograms and X-rays, and display the results to patients on a screen attached to its chest.

"I tried to make the robot seem more human, so that the patient doesn't fear it. So they don't feel like a box is walking in on them," he said.

"There has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren't afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans."

Cira-03 tests a patient for coronavirus by cupping their chin and then extending an arm with a swab into their mouth.

Abu Bakr El-Mihi, head of a private hospital where the robot is being tested, said they were using the robot to take the temperature of anyone suspected of having COVID-19.

(Writing by Nadeen Ebrahim; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Alexandra Hudson)

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