Sampling robot lets clinicians keep their distance from infected patients

There's currently no word on when the system may enter clinical use

Even if they're wearing face shields and masks, healthcare workers can still understandably be quite leery of getting up close and personal with patients who may have COVID-19. That's where a new robotic system comes in, as it lets clinicians take samples at a distance.

Developed by scientists at the Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM) and the Dongguk University College of Medicine, the prototype system consists of a computer-based set of controls in one area, and the actual robot in another. Patients seat themselves at the latter, utilizing a chin rest and forehead rest to properly position their head against the device.

Guided by real-time video from an attached video camera, the clinician then manipulates the controls, sending in the robot's disposable swab to obtain samples from the patient's nose and mouth.