Meet Grace, the healthcare robot designed to talk to people in Covid isolation
[August 16, 2021: The Brighter Side of News]
Owing to the immense pressure on healthcare workers, the Hong Kong-based team behind humanoid robot Sophia has come up with a new prototype to interact with the elderly as well as Covid-19 patients in isolation.
A video of nurse Grace, dressed in a blue uniform, was shared by Reuters, showcasing her ability to not only interact but also take a person’s temperature and measure their responsiveness with the help of a thermal camera in her chest. Designed to interact and help people in need, the humanoid can speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
“I can visit people and brighten their day with social stimulation … but can also do talk therapy, take bio readings and help healthcare providers,” Grace told reporters in the video while standing next to Sophia, in creator Hanson Robotics’ Hong Kong workshop.
According to robotics designer David Hanson, Grace resembles a healthcare professional and is designed to relieve the burden on frontline hospital staff, who have been overworked due to the pandemic.
“A human-like appearance facilitates trust and natural engagement because we are wired for human face-to-face interactions,” Hanson told the news website, adding how Grace is designed to have a comforting demeanour and can simulate the action of more than 48 major facial muscles.
Aiming to start mass-producing a beta version of Grace in August, there are plans to fully deploy the robot by next year in several locations including Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan and Korea. Moreover, with the company producing tens or hundreds of thousands of such units, the cost of the robots, which currently match the price of luxury cars, is sure to decrease, the website reported.
For more science news stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.
Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.