A covid bot similar to the likes of Robocop can detect people who are not observing proper social distancing rules.

The Robocop Covid Bot

Previous research shows that staying at least two meters apart can impede the spread of COVID-19. 

There have been technology-based strategies to detect people who failed to follow the social distancing rules, like the use of Bluetooth and even WiFi. However, many still refrain from following the protocol.

To resolve the problem, a new approach has been proposed. This time, creating a robot that will serve as detection police to address social distancing, especially in huge crowds.

Adarsh Jagan Sathymaoorthy from the University of Maryland, College Park, joined by colleagues proposed and created the device to tone down the increasing cases of the virus. They call it  'Covid Surveillance Robot'.

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How The Covid Surveillance Robot Functions

Now, if you're worried that this robocop covid bot will arrest you and put you behind bars, don't worry.

Sathymaoorthy explained that the COVID surveillance robot could detect people who do not follow the social-distancing protocol in crowds, just like how Robocop scans suspects' identities in public spaces.

Thanks to its installed camera and sensor, the covid bot can detect protocol breachers.

Sathyamoorthy, the research proponent and a Ph.D. student specializing in robotics, stated, "Once it reaches the breach, the robot encourages people to move apart via text that appears on a mounted display."

Once detected, it would only move over to those people and encourage them to stay apart with at least a two-meter distance between them. 

"The robot uses a novel system to sort people who have breached social distancing rules into different groups, prioritize them according to whether they are standing still or moving, and then navigate to them," Sathyamoorthy added.

To help the covid bot navigate through crowds, the proponents used a machine-learning method called 'Deep Reinforcement Learning and Frozone'. 

Not just that, the robocop covid bot can also be connected to CCTVs to enhance its functions, allowing it to detect accurately and quickly.

Regardless, during their testing phase, most protocol breaches done by participants were detected by the covid bot.

But that's not all covid surveillance robots can do.

This particular robot can also be of great help towards efficient contract tracing.

"The robot also uses a thermal camera that can detect people with potential fevers, aiding contact-tracing efforts, while also incorporating measures to ensure privacy protection and de-identification," said Sathyamoorthy

Although this specific feature has already been tested, Sathyamoorthy and his colleagues refined the covid surveillance bot. They also wanted to see how the presence of these robots in public would impact individualistic behaviors in the crowd.

So far, the robocop covid bot is sticking by its core objective; create a machine that would serve communities safely and efficiently. But most importantly, to assist medical frontliners.

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Written by Thea Felicity

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