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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Meet QU’s corona-fighting robot

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The Qatari robot that functions as a waiter, nurse and disinfectant.

Students at Qatar University’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department (MIE) have designed a multi-functioning robot that can help curb the spread of COVID-19 infection by limiting human interaction and ensuring buildings are constantly disinfected and sanitised.

The multipurpose device can deliver food and medicine to patients as well as disinfect surfaces and the air. It was designed using simple components that are readily available in the local market making it easy to manufacture, and at a competitively lower price to similar inventions being sold in the international market.

“[The robot] is characterized by its versatility and is able to efficiently implement the tasks entrusted to it, and that its design relied on simplicity, modularity and flexibility, which allows it to be used with current specifications or developed by adding modern systems to it in the future”, said Dr. Samer Gowid, MIE Lecturer at QU.

Read also: Car sanitation technology kills viruses

In addition to its ability to help curb the spread of COVID-19, it can also save labor costs by helping hospitals, as well as quarantine facilities, by serving patients, limiting close-contact interactions. Using its powerful motors, it can move carrying relatively heavy loads.

The robot can also disinfect the air and surfaces using ultraviolet rays (UV-C) or its built-in chemical mist spray, ensuring safer, cleaner environments particularly in more crowded venues like malls or schools.

According to the university department’s head Professor, Elsadig Mahdi, this is not the first robot manufactured by the students at QU. Previously, students of the Industrial & Systems Engineering Program developed a pesticides spraying device that worked with artificial intelligence to spray organic and inorganic pesticides on produce.

“[The robot] reduces labor costs, plant diseases, the cost of spraying, and virulent diseases that affect humans. Qatar University has applied for invention registration as well as for a patent,” said Mahdi.

The institution is currently trying to collaborate with a Qatari company in order to distribute the COVD robot throughout the local market.

This is just the first version of the robot, by the end of the semester, the students hope to have completed work on an updated robot that will fly, with the primary focus of it being able to disinfect larger areas quicker.

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