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The R-Bot: A robot in service to the nation

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The R-BOT developed by Hem Singh Banoth, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Hyderabad Division, South Central Railway can help both patients and doctors in the long run

Keeping in mind the social distancing norms during COVID-19 pandemic in India, a number of measures have been taken up by the Indian Railways. Here is a special mention about a robot developed by the Additional Divisional Manager of South Central Railway, based out of Secunderabad that has been helping the officials to a great extent.

The R-BOT

Christened as RAIL BOT (R-BOT), the device has been developed by Hem Singh Banoth, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Hyderabad Division, South Central Railway as a service to the nation. Says Banoth, “The total time to build the robot was around a week. Artificial intelligence and automation is my hobby and so to help the medical fraternity, I thought of manufacturing the device.”

The robot is capable of raising an alarm in case the body temperature of a patient is abnormally high. In that case, doctors can get an alert. With a load-carrying capacity of 80 kg, the R-Bot can continuously function for six hours on a single charge of a battery. It can move at a speed of 1 km per hour.

 Banoth adds, “The robot can be operated through WiFi and radio control as well. So remotely the doctor can operate the robot and interact with patients via audio-video communication system provided on the bot. The machine can carry a lot of weight to supply medicine and food to the patients without any physical contact between medics and patients.”

There are reports that the COVID-19 virus can spread within a distance of six feet, hence this robot will be really beneficial as there will be limited physical activity between nurses/ doctors and patients, according to Banoth.

Technology used

Sensor-based features help the robot to read the body temperature of patients, and transmit it for display on a mobile phone. Using sensor-based features, the robot can read the body temperature of patients, and transmit it for display on a mobile phone.

Infra-red technology with an emergency night lamp enables communication even in complete darkness. It can circumvent any foreign objects in its path with the help of inbuilt observation avoidance sensors.

Future plans

R-BOT is currently deployed in the COVID ward of South Central Railway Central Hospital, Lallaguda, Secunderabad. Banoth plans to go in for patenting the robot.

He mentions that he will be working with AI, data intelligence and automation to work on one more robot which can help the medical fraternity.

On enquiring about the grants received, Banoth says, it is a service to the nation and no grants were received. There was no compulsion from the Railway administration to develop such a device, however, Banoth’s teammates helped him in this endeavour.

Banoth says plans are afoot to further innovate and develop the R-BOT. There are currently no COVID positive patients at the South Central Railway Central Hospital in Lallaguda.

Says Banoth, “When someone (Railway staff) comes to report about their symptoms of Coronavirus, they are immediately referred to COVID suspect ward (specially made transit by railway hospital). Here they are observed and tested. If found positive, they are sent to the state government nominated hospital for further treatment else they are discharged.”

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