Robots versus COVID-19

College of Science and Engineering, May 7, 2020

The robotics field has tackled many global challenges, from mental health to environmental sustainability. Now, it meets possibly its most challenging enemy yet in COVID-19, and College of Science and Engineering students are rising to the occasion.

With the help of CSE alumni and the Minnesota Robotics Institute (MnRI), members of University of Minnesota Robotics are building a remotely controlled robot that hospital staff can use to monitor COVID-19 patients from up to 300 feet away. 

The four-foot-tall robot built would be equipped with one-way video and audio feed for health workers to observe patients and a thermal camera to check patients’ temperatures.

“This way, [health workers] can see what the camera sees as if they’re riding on the robot,” said CSE student and UMN Robotics member Amalia Schwarzwald, who instigated the project. “They can look around and see the patients without interacting with them, and potentially getting the disease.”

University of Minnesota Robotics students build COVID-19 robot