VIDEO: Robots will test for coronavirus in Shanghai and other Chinese cities

The Shanghai Institute of Artificial Intelligence has developed a nucleic acid sampling robot that is mounted on the "SAIRI" intelligent nucleic acid sampling vehicle (see video above). This robot is jointly developed by Chery Holding Group Research Institute and Jieka Robotics, the robot can replace humans and complete the entire nucleic acid sampling process.


Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Research Institute is a new research institution co-invested by Shanghai Jiaotong University, Minhang County Government and Lingang Group.


In Shanghai, for nucleic acid sampling, a new concept of "moving robot" is being put forward to reduce the risk of cross-contamination of people during sampling, as well as to establish a protective barrier for sampling by medical staff. After sampling, the nucleic acid sampling vehicle directly transports the samples to the laboratory, which can improve the efficiency of coronavirus detection.


Under this concept, the Shanghai AI Research Institute and enterprises have jointly developed the first-generation nucleic acid sampling tool. About 80 new nucleic acid sampling robots are currently being prepared to be put into service, and the robots will cruise the streets, campuses, parks and other places.


“In connection with the normalization of nucleic acid sampling, we will organize a special class to develop a second-generation nucleic acid sampling tool, hoping to comprehensively improve its intelligence and digitization,” said Liu Yanjing, deputy director of the Shanghai Institute of Artificial Intelligence. The development of nucleic acid sampling robots is the focus of this project.


Under the leadership of the Municipal Commission for Economics and Information Technology, Yang Weixin, Chief Scientist of the Smart Medical Center of Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Research Institute and Junior Researcher of the School of Mechanical Engineering and Energy Engineering of Shanghai Jiaotong University, cooperated with Jieka Robotics.


A technology team to develop a two-arm robot in a very short time and its auxiliary equipment. “The robotic arm we are using is the Jieka MiniCobo collaborative robot. Most of the rest of the equipment is 3D printed.


Why can a robot take a throat swab accurately and safely? Yang Weixin explained that the robot is equipped with vision and force control sensors. With the help of vision sensors, he can determine the position of the face and the compliance of the opening of the mouth with the requirements of sampling. If it matches, the robot arm will insert the cotton swab and then use the endoscopic vision system to detect the oral environment, identify the tonsils, and guide the cotton swab to collect secretions near the tonsils. The force control sensor can transmit real-time force control data and control the manipulator force within the safety threshold.


"Visual guidance and force control feedback are characteristics of collaborative robots. When the collision torque reaches the set upper torque limit, the robot immediately makes adaptive adjustments to fully ensure the safe human-robot interaction," said Tang Zhili, Deputy General Manager Jieka Robotics. In addition to the new regulation on nucleic acid sampling, collaborative robots have been used in many areas such as smart manufacturing, smart restaurants, and limb rehabilitation.


Intelligent nucleic acid sampling vehicles equipped with sampling robots are expected to come into service in the near future. There is only one driver in the vehicle, the sampling work is completely outsourced to the robot, and the unmanned nucleic acid sampling can be completed in about 30 seconds. Thanks to the positive pressure equipment installed in the vehicle, there is no risk of infection even if the driver is not wearing protective clothing. The vehicle will also be equipped with nucleic acid detection equipment to achieve "collection and inspection integration."