Tech company creates automated COVID-19 ‘SwabBot’


  • Biobot, a tech company in Singapore, has created a COVID-19 swab-testing robot.
  • This was done to reduce the risk to health workers who have contact with patients to collect samples for the COVID-19 test.
  • Other companies have also developed similar models to perform swab tests.

Healthcare workers are put at risk when they have to come into contact with patients to collect samples for tests, especially during the pandemic. To help find a solution and lessen the risks to health workers and make conducting mass testing for COVID-19 more efficient, a company in Singapore has created an automated swab-testing robot called SwabBot.

Patients use the SwabBot by placing their nostrils onto disposable plastic nose pieces that are equipped with an extendable swab stick that collects samples from the nasal passageway. The swabbing process is activated when the patient pushes their chin against the machine.

The robot also has sensors that can detect if the swab stick encounters barriers or some resistance so the stick can be retracted.

Though the 20-second swab process is automated, the machine needs human hands to clean, maintain, and refit swab sticks.

Leo Lim, product manager at Biobot Surgical Pte Ltd, says that the process doesn’t hurt at all and that it only feels a little ticklish. The tech company developed the SwabBot with the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).

One of the project’s senior consultants, Professor Tan Ngian Chye of the NCCS, didn’t expect the response to their device to be so overwhelming. Though the SwabBot still only exists as a prototype, the company plans to produce at least a hundred units. More depending on the demand.

Biobot still doesn’t have a price tag for their SwabBot, however, many local and foreign potential clients have inquired about the device. Swab-testing robots have also been developed by other companies such as Brain Navi in Taiwan.

Source: New York Post

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