Akshita Mehta is currently pursuing triple majors in Journalism, Psychology, and Literature from Christ Deemed to be University, Bangalore. She believes that sharing the stories of ordinary citizens are a tool to change society.
In 2020, when the Covid-19 hit the country for the first time, Mohamed Aashik Rahman, the CEO of Propeller Technologies swiftly put on his innovative cap to re-programme its school-oriented robots for medical aid in order to ease the strain on the frontline workers.
The voice-activated Zafi robot was created to serve as a subject explainer for students in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. When long-distance travel became impossible due to the lockdown, the engineering team opted to repurpose the robots for a medical scenario.
With the objective to learn about the issues faced by frontline staff, the team visited hospitals. After learning about their issues, they customised robots that would help to tackle it. Their Zafi robots played a vital role during the first wave of the Covid-19.
Zafi Go was developed with the specific purpose of delivering meals and medication to Covid-infected patients without requiring direct interaction with nurses. Last year, it was widely utilised in Chennai and Tiruchi government hospitals.
"The innovation for Covid has been a different and overwhelming experience for us. We wanted our service to come in use of the country, instead of selling it to foreign countries," said Aashik to The Logical Indian.
Propeller Technologies went on to develop a number of Zafi Robots, including the Zafi Way, Zafi Clean, and Zafi Sterilize, all of which were designed specifically for medical and sanitization purposes.
The Trichy-based firm later moved on to develop a new Humanoid Robot named 'Zafira,' which is specifically meant to protect customers from the spread of COVID in public areas.
Zafira is a sophisticated image sensing, a voice-activated robot that automates body temperature screening and dispensing of sanitizer for safer communities.
It was specifically developed for showrooms, supermarkets, and shopping malls. The robot ensures that the customers in the store follow all the Covid-19 precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining proper temperature and social distancing.
At present, it is operating in nine silk and saree showrooms in Chennai. However, Zafi Go is not in use currently.
"In the second wave, the problems have shifted to medicines and oxygen crisis which requires the personal assistance of the doctor and relying on Robots isn't advisable," explained Aashik while speaking with The Logical Indian.
Zafi robots are, nevertheless, expected to be used in healthcare in the near future. It is expected to minimise human contact with the patients and enable healthcare workers to carry on with their duties, without any fear of infection.
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