09.12.2016 change 09.12.2016

Bobot - robot carer and friend of young patients

Bobot, a robot that can be a carer and friend of young patients in hospitals - is the invention of Białystok University of Technology students. In their opinion, the robot can support the work of nurses and doctors, and be a play companion for children in hospitals.

The project "Bobot - a true friend" is implemented at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Białystok University of Technology by the Inter- Faculty Scientific Club Mobile Technologies Group with the support of the Faculty of Computer Science.

Bobot is a fat little robot, whose appearance and size resembles a school-aged child. The project coordinator Marcin Żukowski told PAP that the robot would have two functions - electronic carer and child\'s friend.

Electronic circuits will allow it to find the right room, check the child\'s temperature and pulse, and carry packages in a backpack, for example blood samples. Robot\'s camera can also be used to monitor the room and send the image to nurse\'s tablet, helping her to watch over the young patients.

As a friend of hospitalised children, Bobot will be capable of telling stories, singing songs, displaying films, and communicate with children through clear symbols displayed on the tummy. As a result - Żukowski added - the robot will also be able to communicate with hard of hearing children.

Żukowski said that the idea of the whole project was born during one of his visits to the hospital where the children were shown a Mars rover (for several years Białystok University of Technology students have been building such rovers and winning awards at international competitions in the Martian base in the desert in Utah, USA). He mentioned that the children were very interested in the rover and the students decided to design a robot specifically for them.

He added that before the start of the project they also analysed the situation in children\'s hospitals. Their observation were that the medical staff had a lot of work and not always could spend more time playing or reading books to children. "Children need warmth and attention, so each additional initiative in the hospital is important" - noted Żukowski.

Prototype robot is currently being built. Its entire appearance is already designed and the frame is ready. Work is underway on the body of the robot that has to be sturdy, but also have a friendly look. The design team hopes that the prototype can be created by the end of April 2017.

According to Żukowski, a similar Portuguese robot is currently available on the market, but - as he added - its functions are limited to interacting and playing with children. Bobot will also help the nurses.

"Bobot - a true friend" was one of the finalists of the competition "Technotalent" 2016, which supports innovative projects from the Podlasie province.

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