Brigham and Women's Hospital tests MIT's 'Dr. Spot' robot for contactless vital signs monitoring

Brigham and Women's Hospital teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Dynamics to develop a robot that performs contactless vital sign monitoring to track COVID-19 in patients.

In an Aug. 18 academic paper, MIT researchers described how they re-configured their Spot robots, which have four legs and are designed to self navigate or be remote controlled to maneuver areas that wheel robots cannot, to provide contactless vital sign monitoring. Dubbed Dr. Spot, the robot includes an iPad so clinicians can have face-to-face consults with patients while conducting a remote exam.

Dr. Spot's contactless monitoring equipment can simultaneously measure vital signs including skin temperature, respiratory rate, blood oxygen saturation and heart rate. The team deployed the remote controlled robot within its emergency department tent to travel from a stand-up tent and within the ED as a way to limit healthcare workers' exposure to patients potentially infected with COVID-19.

The study authors concluded that Dr. Spot was able to reliably facilitate contactless vital sign monitoring to triage and manage patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

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