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CU Engineering Grad Student Shares on the Development of Robots for Hospital Use During COVID-19 Outbreak

Since the first report of coronavirus cases in Thailand, medical professionals have been working around the clock to fight the global pandemic, often facing shortages of health care members.  Technology and innovation took the front seat in aiding medical staff to work more efficiently, while keeping themselves safe from being infected with COVID-19.

Maitai Dahlan, a graduate student at Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a CU Research Assistant, was one of the team members from the Faculty of Engineering that collaborate to develop telepresence robots to assist health personnel.  Maitai worked on launching Ninja, a robot designed to reduce the risk of infection from patient to medical staff.  The remote connection allowed hospital staff to communicate with patients and can be used to record vital signs, such as blood pressure, cardiac wavelengths, and temperature.

“In the beginning of 2019, when the first COVID-19 case broke out in Thailand, medical robots were needed to help ease the work of medical professionals.  Once the Faculty of Engineering was contacted to develop on this technology, we decided to adapt and improve an existing model that was originally built to monitor recovering stroke patients.  I am extremely proud that our invention can be put to good use and be catered to COVID-19 patients”, Maitai commented.  He adds that even after COVID-19 is under control, the robots can be used in hospitals to conduct video conferences with patients and staff, or measure vital signs.

Maitai has been an outstanding student since his undergraduate years.  He received first place from the 8th Thailand Robot Design Contest in 2015 and the National Outstanding Child and Youth Award in 2016.  He has several academic papers published in international journals and has been selected to join academic conferences at the international level.  Fast forward to 2020, Maitai recently completed his Master’s and will join the commencement ceremony this October.  His thesis was a research on “Adaptive Control of Robot Manipulators for Two-Wheeled Robots”.  When asked about his plans for the near future, he reveals of his plan to continue his studies with a doctoral degree in the same field of work.

Despite his accomplishments, Maitai wants to continue creating meaningful innovations that will improve efficiency, such as robots that can maneuver and avoid objects, robots that can walk up the stairs, or ones that can help carry heavy items.

To learn more about the development of CU medical robots, visit Facebook: CU-RoboCovid or LINE: @curobocovid.

Chula produces able graduates who become quality citizens for society.

Prof. Bundhit Eua-arporn President of Chulalongkorn University