Coronavirus: Egyptian Mahmoud El-Koumi Built A Robot To Assist Medical Doctors During COVID-19 Care

by Duke Magazine

In Mahmoud El-Koumi’s effort to find a way his mechanical engineering knowledge would be useful in the proper management of coronavirus in Egypt, he tried to provide means of minimizing the contact between healthcare providers, who are the frontline army against the highly infectious disease on one hand, and patients.

 El-Koumi engineered a robot with the specific task of playing a doctor’s assistant. The remote-controlled robot was named Cira-03. On account of Reuter’s conversation with El-Koumi in December, the Cairo technologist reported that Cira-03 was doing exactly as expected. The automaton can test for Covid-19 and take the temperature of patients, at a private hospital in the city of Tanta, where it is being trialed.

 “Before starting its mission, the robot receives training to improve its AI. The training is done by a specialist doctor, the AI in this training acts like a human doctor,” El-Koumi said.

However, Cira-03 is not only taking temperatures and carrying out COVID-19 tests. It can also detect your echocardiographs as well as X-rays. All of Cira-03’s results can be seen on a small monitor it has for a chest. The robot is built with a human-like face but without arms.

“This robot is specially designed to help the medical staff during Covid-19 times. It is a medical robot capable of multi-tasks, it can deal with patients in their beds, chest scans, fever screening, and face mask detection,” El-Koumi, 27, added. 

Being mindful of the relationship of humans with the creation, he tried to put that into consideration while Cira-03 was built. 

“I tried to make the robot seem more human so that the patient doesn’t fear it. So they don’t feel like a box is walking in on them. There has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren’t afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans.”

Egypt has reported nearly 200,000 cases of the COVID-19 infections, with over 150,000 recoveries. The country was also the first to roll out a nationwide vaccination program with support from foreign partners such as China and Russia.

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