Robots that take care of sick people in hospitals with Spanish software

A professor and researcher at the University of Almería has developed software that can manage mobile robots that can autonomously walk through hospitals and intensive care units, monitoring patients, monitoring their condition … and serving as a basis for doctors who are in others Hospitals and offer their help in telemedicine.

A researcher from the University of Almería is developing the software that robots can use to provide telemedical support

José Luis Blanco, professor of mechanical engineering at the above-mentioned university, has been working for five years with the California-based company InTouch Health with its simultaneous location and mapping software that will enable the development of these robots that will become doctors support independently. The project is currently in the test phase.

His research focuses on solving four main problems a mobile robot must face. On the one hand, the perception, which consists of capturing all sensors and interpreting what surrounds them; on the other hand, the location, which allows the robot to know where it is – some kind of generic GPS – without the need for a satellite to reach it and it is able to work indoors and outdoors.

In addition, the construction of maps that integrate the sensors into a mental model, a kind of map of their surroundings that helps them to locate themselves. Finally, autonomous navigation or obstacle avoidance, in which the robot has to get from A to B and plan a flight path along the way and avoid unexpected obstacles and people crossing them.

The project also has a social vision, because thanks to the collaboration with the NGO World Telehealth Initiative, telemedical techniques are implemented in hospitals in disadvantaged countries through the use of mobile robotics.

But his research continues. “All of these technologies can be integrated into mobile machines such as drones, mobile robots, autonomous vehicles and even virtual reality helmets,” says José Luis Blanco. For example, the ARM 197 Automation, Robotics and Mechatronics Research Group at the University of Almería, headed by Manuel Berenguel, to which Blanco also belongs, has developed an autonomous electric car project (pictured).

“What we engineers are looking for is that robotics should serve society, improve people’s quality of life, avoid jobs that are dangerous for people, and create new opportunities for prosperity and business growth,” he says.

Thanks to his research, Blanco, author of more than 100 publications – including 33 articles in JCR-indexed journals and two books – is the winner of the second edition of the UAL Social Council Award for Young Researchers in the field of the fields of natural sciences, health sciences, Engineering and architecture, endowed with 3,000 euros.

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