Hospitals have successfully tested PAL Robotics’ TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor robots as part of efforts to tackle COVID-19, through our project with Accerion and DIH-HERO. We have been able to adapt our robots, working with project partners Accerion, to automate deliveries in two Barcelona hospitals. This is in order to help staff be able to focus on essential tasks, improve efficiencies and reduce the need for social interactions with routine tasks.
DIH-HERO is a digital innovation hub that connects organisations and helps fund innovation in the sector. DIH Hero opened a specific COVID-19 call, to explore which medical needs could be met in a timely manner by adapting existing solutions and we are delighted to have had the chance to take part.
Sarah Terreri, the EU Projects Manager at PAL Robotics said of the project: “PAL Robotics is involved in more than 15 collaborative projects, in fields including healthcare and ambient assisted living. These projects bring the advantage of allowing us to apply research into real world situations. Thanks to the DIH Hero project we have been able to develop updated solutions here to support healthcare and hospitals.”
PAL Robotics TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor delivering in hospitals
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 large warehouses and factories, whereas in a hospital, robots must navigate through narrow corridors, with lots of people.”
Jordi continued, “PAL Robotics and Accerion have been working together in this project to provide our TIAGo Base robots with the most sophisticated navigation, thanks to Accerion’s Triton camera perceiving features of the floor that go unnoticed to the human eye. The solution has been developed in just two months.”
One of the robots for hospitals, TIAGo Conveyor is a robot equipped with a conveyor to transport food trays to patients in quarantine, for example. The other robot adapted, the TIAGo Delivery, aims to transport goods that should be accessible to authorized personnel only – this robot is equipped with a safe.
In detail, the two use cases used in this project were:
- 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 isolated patients: those are patients that are autonomous but require isolation – the helpfulness of this solution goes beyond COVID-19.
- 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.
The hospital’s experiences using TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor
The TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor robots were deployed in Hospital Municipal of Badalona and Hospital Clínic Barcelona. At the Hospital of Badalona, Sergio Garcia Redondo of the Innovation and Projects Department told us, “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.”
Sergio also told us, “we didn’t require any adaptation to be able to use the robots on any of the hospital’s floors. 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. Our main goal is that healthcare staff are able to be as dedicated as possible to patients.”
In the hospital pharmacy department, Head of the Pharmacy Service, Begoña Pascual explained “Here specifically, the TIAGo Delivery robot could help with delivering medicines that require a stricter control, such as narcotics, urgent medicines or medicines that require refrigeration and that need to be done outside of standard monodosis deliveries.”
Regarding the future, the hospital of Badalona also added: “our main goal is that healthcare staff are able to have time to be as dedicated as possible to patients. When the robots are helping and performing tasks that were previously done by staff, these personnel can dedicate this time to directly attending to patients.” In summary, these solutions are helpful to hospitals, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, since they bring advantages on so many levels.
DIH-HERO launched this project and is an independent platform which connects Digital Innovation Hubs across Europe to create a sustaining network for all those who are active in the healthcare robotics sector. The project consortium consists of 17 core partners spread across 11 countries.
Meet DIH – HERO Core partners:
PAL Robotics’ project partner, Accerion, provides positioning solutions, enabling high-performance mobile robots and AGVs for intralogistics, with virtual lines or grid mapping to allow for free navigation. In their portfolio are the Jupiter and Triton sensor systems, which can be easily integrated into robots and other mobile platforms to make them completely autonomous.
Jupiter, is Accerion’s advanced optical device, which provides both relative and absolute positioning to the navigation stack for the mobile robot to navigate on simple or complex routes. Triton is Accerion’s newest product using their positioning technology, a compact option for mapping providing absolute positioning only, it can be integrated with other positioning technologies or enhance existing robotic products.
To find out more about TIAGo Delivery and TIAGo Conveyor robots, as well as our other TIAGo Base solutions, visit our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts to find out how to apply these solutions within your organisation, or to ask about the solution that’s right for you. We are also always on the lookout for new potential project partners, to find out more visit our collaborative projects webpage.