New AI robot to help UAE nurseries ensure health and safety among kids
The device is designed to scan each child's hands, eyes and throats for any sign of illness in just three seconds
When schools announced a return to physical classes last month, one of the larger concerns was voiced by parents of the youngest wards. After all, requiring kindergartners to maintain appropriate social distance is a tough ask - even without Covid-19. A new AI-powered 'health buddy robot', however, is hoping to put parents and school authorities at ease with real-time health checks to ensure a safe environment for all.
The Walklake Robot is designed to scan each child's hands, eyes and throats for any sign of illness, such as high temperature, redness in eyes, rashes, mouth ulcers and more - all in three seconds. It is recommended for use during morning inspections of children aged two to 10, so that any abnormalities can be flagged and examined by the school nurse, thus preventing the spread of highly communicable diseases, such as influenza, hand-foot-mouth disease and, of course, Covid-19.
Taimoor Asif, director of Transtec, which distributes the robot exclusively in the UAE, noted that although the device can detect potential Covid-19 symptoms, the pandemic wasn't the key reason for bringing Walklake to the country. "The robot is purely an added precautionary measure before kids enter the premises to prevent the spread of illnesses among children. The concept is being used in thousands of preschools and elementary schools across the world, but I've not seen anything like it in the UAE yet."
With its bright colours and 'friendly' face, Taimoor reckons young kids will be less apprehensive about having their vital signs checked, as opposed to sitting down with a nurse. The robot has three modes: advanced mode (where a child places their chin on a pad and undergoes a quick scan), risk mode, and mask mode (where the entire scan can be completed with zero contact).
The device will also keep track of any new infections in children in the UAE, and is currently being employed at five nurseries in Dubai. Taimoor added that they are looking to reach out to the hospitality sector as well as kids' clubs soon, as the robot will be "especially useful at venues that may not have a registered nurse on site".