BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — For the last six weeks, a robotic dog has been helping some Boston healthcare workers connect with patients at a safe distance during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Spot is this robot... that looks like a dog, essentially," said Dr. Peter Chai of Boston Dynamics, the mobile robotics company behind the four-legged machine.
Boston Dynamics released a statement this week describing the new technology, which was designed in response to local medical facilities requesting a solution to help staff stay safe as personal protective equipment supplies became scarce.
"The result is a legged robot application that can be deployed to support frontline staff responding to the pandemic in ad-hoc environments such as triage tents and parking lots," said Boston Dynamic.
The company said it is also "open-sourcing the hardware and software designs used to get these robots into the field," with the hope that "these tools can enable developers and roboticists to rapidly deploy robots in order to reduce risks to medical staff."
Dr. Chai told WBZ NewsRadio Spot has been helping Boston's medical workers maintain safe distances from their patients.
"We've been able to outfit the robot with some telemedicine capabilities, using a holder that we screw onto the head of the dog," said Dr. Chai. "[That] holds an iPad, and through that iPad we can essentially call in and see patients virtually."
Spot has already been helping facilitate long-distance communication to see if patients need further testing for coronavirus. The hope is for Spot to help in the future with disinfecting rooms and taking patients' vital information.
WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: