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PAL Robotics completes testing of robots with Accerion positioning sensors in hospitals to fight Covid-19

With the unpredictable health crisis of Covid-19 continuing to place high demands on hospitals, PAL Robotics says it has successfully completed testing of its delivery robots in Barcelona hospitals this summer. (See video below.)

The TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor robots were deployed in Hospital Municipal of Badalona and Hospital Clínic Barcelona following a winning proposal submitted to the European DIH-Hero project.

Accerion sensors were integrated onto the TIAGo Delivery Robot and TIAGo Conveyor Robot for use in this project.

The two use cases in this project were:

1. Transportation of a food tray to a patient’s room

Hospitals considered this use case interesting specially for those cases where the patient is confined and therefore personal contacts must be minimized as much as possible.

The robot used an actuated conveyor so that the food tray could be automatically transferred to a table or furniture in the room.

This solution is particularly useful for autonomous isolated patients who are able to be on their own, although must be isolated – the helpfulness of this solution goes beyond Covid-19, says PAL.

2. Transportation of sensible goods

In this case goods like medication, medical supplies, blood samples, etc. were transported by a robot equipped with a safe. Only authorized personnel with the appropriate access codes have access to the safe in order to load or unload it.

At one of the hospitals that used the robots, the Hospital Municipal of Badalona, Sergio García Redondo of the Innovation and Projects Department, says: “Based on the two use cases we have tested, we have been able to see a lot of potential, and they will certainly improve the hospital’s logistics.

“We would drastically be able to reduce the need to do repetitive tasks with no added value for the patient, therefore the healthcare staff could focus directly on the patient.”

He adds: “In the isolated patients scenario, there is a risk for the staff that carry out food deliveries, therefore improvement is crucial as it reduces the contact of health personnel with the isolated patient.

“This improvement is vital for the safety of the patient and the staff, but also to reduce the spread of infection in the hospital.”

Jordi Pagès, head of intralogisitcs at PAL Robotics said of the work that took place: “The main challenge for the project was that most of today’s automated mobile robots operate in warehouses and factories, whereas in a hospital, robots must navigate through narrow corridors, with lots of people.

“PAL Robotics and Accerion have been working together in this project to provide our robots with the most sophisticated navigation. The solution was developed in just two months.”

TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor were installed following the acceptance of a joint proposal from the project partners to DIH Hero in response to their open Call, “Fighting Covid-19 2020 for healthcare robotics”.

TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor are able to transport items around hospitals and have an even better accuracy in their positioning thanks to the added cutting edge sensors by Accerion.

PAL Robotics’ mission is to enhance people’s quality of life through service robotics and automation technologies. PAL Robotics designs and manufactures highly integrated and reliable solutions for service industries and research institutions worldwide.

Since 2004, PAL Robotics has developed state-of-the-art robots specially designed to solve customers’ needs. Today PAL Robotics is known for its humanoid robots REEM-C, TALOS, TIAGo and ARI, as well as its retail and manufacturing solutions, TIAGo Base and StockBot.

Accerion, a Dutch company founded in 2015, provides autonomous positioning technology for robots and other mobile platforms that allows sub-millimetre positioning accuracy and predictability in dynamic environments.

These solutions drive automation and efficiency in logistics, manufacturing, ecommerce and other industries around the world.

Accerion’s positioning solutions enable high-performance mobile robots and AGVs in intralogistics operations with virtual lines or grid mapping to allow for free navigation.

The system’s advanced technology uses sub-millimetre-level positioning without additional infrastructure.

Accerion’s portfolio includes Jupiter and Triton sensor systems, which can be quickly and easily integrated into robots and other mobile platforms.

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