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COVID-19 tests in northern China administered by robot

Sheathed in a layer of protective plastic, China’s newest medical worker beckoned residents in the Chinese city of Shenyang forward before taking a COVID-19 throat swab, with its robotic arm.

The droid, built to collect samples quickly while lowering the risk of cross-infection between people, has been deployed in the northern city amid a mass testing campaign to stamp out an outbreak in surrounding Liaoning province.

Through remote human-robot collaboration, the Lingcai droid, while adopting full isolation and protective measures, is able to complete the throat swab sampling job in a fast and gentle fashion, and with greater efficiency.

The use of the robot can also effectively prevent cross-infection between medical workers and those tested, who are especially valuable in the sampling process.

According to the developer, Shenyang Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the droid can automatically register the subjects’ information, making the whole sampling process traceable and ensuring the authenticity of that sampling.

The sample collection process supports multi-person sample collection and processing mode for more than five people automatically.

The robot’s performance has been lauded as steady by test subjects, reports said.

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