KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian scientists have created a barrel-shaped robot on wheels that they hope will make the rounds on hospital wards to check on COVID-19 patients, reducing health workers’ risk of infection.

“Medibot” is a 1.5m white robot, equipped with a camera and screen via which patients can communicate remotely with medics.

The invention, built by scientists at the International Islamic University Malaysia, is also fitted with a device to check patients’ temperatures remotely.

READ: Robots may become heroes in war against COVID-19

This photo shows the version two prototype of the IIUM Medibot medical robot in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur on Apr 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

It is aimed at helping nurses and doctors working on the wards with social distancing, Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, a member of the team behind the invention, told AFP.

It cost about RM15,000 (US$3,500) to develop, and the university plans to trial it soon in their own private hospital, which does not treat virus patients, said Zulkifli.

If that proves a success, the scientists hope it can be used in government hospitals where people with COVID-19 are sent.

Malaysia has reported 4,683 coronavirus cases, including 76 deaths, as of Sunday (Apr 12). 

READ: Thai hospitals deploy ‘ninja robots’ to aid virus battle

Malaysia medibot

A temperature screening device is pictured as engineering professors program a prototype of the IIUM Medibot medical robot in Gombak, Kuala Lumpur on Apr 13, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

From Thailand to Israel, robots are being used in the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed over 110,000 people worldwide.

They are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the virus.

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