After succesfully deploying drones to enforce a lockdown and curb the spread of the coronavirus, Rwanda has now enlisted the help of five robots.
The nation that’s been at the forefront of technology adoption on the continent will use the Belgium-made robots at a Covid-19 treatment center to test patients’ temperatures and to alert security when people don’t wear masks. The robots can deliver food and other supplies to patients, thereby minimising contact between patients and medical staff, according to director general of Rwanda Biomedical Center, Sabin Nsanzimana.
Rwanda was among the first countries in African to introduce a smart-card system for city buses and deploy drones for the delivery of medicine. Today, drones equipped with loudspeakers fly above city streets to broadcast virus-fighting measures, a strategy pioneered by China and used from India to the UK.
The Zorabots are made by a Belgian company with the same name that supplies a range of models with names such as Mario and Pepper for retail and accommodation industries. The medical robot is based on the Nao robot, originally designed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics.
Zora is “beautiful, has nice eyes, and can see very well,” the company says of the humanoid-shaped robot on its website. Its founders, Fabrice Goffin and Tommy Deblieck, said they were inspired by the Star Wars series and its robot character R2D2.
Rwanda has 308 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with no deaths recorded so far.