5G-based quarantine robot makes commercial debut at university hospital

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 19, 2021, 12:58 Updated : April 19, 2021, 12:58

[Courtesy of SK Telecom]

SEOUL -- A 5G-based robot featuring guidance and quarantine functions made its commercial debut at a university hospital by combining a real-time location tracking system and abilities to analyze the density of visitors for social distancing. The robot allows citizens to visit the hospital without any anxiety about COVID-19 infection

SK Telecom (SKT) said it has established a quarantine robot solution at Yongin Severance Hospital operated by Yonsei University in Yongin, some 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Seoul, to operate a non-stop infection control system. The robot called "BINU" measures the temperature of visitors by identifying their faces with artificial intelligence technology and examines whether they wear masks.

SKT said that BINU analyzes the density of visitors and issues vocal warnings while carrying out autonomous disinfection with an ultraviolet (UV) sterilization function. UV germicidal rays have a strong effect on sterilizing bacteria and viruses.

"I think it is meaningful that we presented a leading model of smart infection management in medical institutions through the deployment of complex 5G quarantine robots," SKT's smart factory division head Choi Nak-hoon said in a statement on April 19.

Yongin Severance Hospital has been selected for a government project to establish a leading model of smart hospitals. The university hospital has adopted a location information-based infection tracking and management solution to effectively prevent nosocomial infection and accurately analyze the infection route.

"We will continue to make efforts to become a patient-centered hospital that leads the safety and empathy of patients as a digital innovation hospital that leads smart medical care in South Korea," said Yongin Severance Hospital head Choi Dong-hoon.

With the establishment of 5G mobile communication networks, South Korea has become one of the world's largest testing grounds for connected service robots. A city-run medical center in Seoul has adopted autonomous robots that measure temperature, sterilize negative-pressure wards and carry medical waste to prevent cross-contamination.

SKT has partnered with Robotis, which offers a modularized and standardized solution for robot technology, for cooperation in autonomous robot business based on 5G mobile edge computing (MEC), which enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of cellular networks.

In May 2020, SKT put a 5G-connected intelligent sentry robot equipped with multiple sensors and a hand sanitizer dispenser into a test run in the lobby of its headquarters in Seoul like a human epidemic control commissioner who supervises social distancing, advise people to wear face masks and check body temperatures. The robot sterilizes objects using ultraviolet lamps.
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