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Hong Kong Economic Journal Interview (Nova Management): 5G Epidemic Prevention Robot

Roborn 5G Epidemic Prevention Robot are being much more practical by taking three main advantages of 5G technology, namely low latency, high bandwidth and wide coverage with different things. For instance, the UV Light Disinfection Robot responsible for indoor disinfection is embedded with a 360-degree viewing angle camera on the top. Monitors can observe the disinfection work with 5G mobile phones for ensuring no one else on site. In addition, 5G streaming allows the robot providing a real-time communication platform. It is able to reduce the risk of contact between medical staff and patients during the patient consultations.

(Below is the translation of an excerpt from the programme transcription)

Guest: Mak Hin Yu (Co-founder of Roborn Technology Limited)

Poon: Poon Ka Yeung

Lee: Li Ching Yee

Mak: Mak Hin Yu (Mark)

Lee: Roborn focuses on developing 5G Robots and how they can assist us in epidemic prevention? Let us recap the advantages of 5G first.

Mak: 5G is the 5th generation of Transmission Control Protocol. Comparing to 4G, its first advantage is the low latency which is only in milliseconds, allowing the operator to see and hear the robot’s surroundings in real time so that the operator can control the robot in response to the on-site situation, realizing human-machine cooperation and virtual interaction. The second advantage is high bandwidth. The images captured by the robot can be transmitted clearly to the operator by 4K or even 8K resolution and won’t be interrupted due to insufficient bandwidth. The third advantage of 5G is its wide coverage  for connecting to various electronic devices.

High efficiency of Disinfection through Remote Control of UV Robot

Lee: How 5G robots help in epidemic prevention in practical?

Mak: For example, we developed a UV light disinfection robot for indoor disinfection. It contains a 360-degree camera with which operator can monitor its surroundings in real time through a 5G mobile phone to ensure no one is nearby. Although the effectiveness of UVC disinfection is obvious due to its high power intensity, human eyes and skins will be harmed and injured if directly exposed to UV light. Therefore, monitoring with 5G mobile phones before and amid the operation is a safety measure.

Poon: This 360-degree camera can take videorecord so that the management can use as evidence to ensure that the disinfection work has been thoroughly carried out.

Lee: If there is an emergency, such as someone breaking in, can the robot stop disinfection immediately?

Mak: Yes, it can. We can combine AI on the robot to achieve this function. The robots in the market usually use sensor only and they will stop when someone passes by. However, it will be too late considering the detection distance range of a sensor may be only  1 meter while the Irradiation distance of UV light is over 5 meters, which means people will still get injured if they are within that 5 meters distance due to the sensor’s failure of a trigger.

Poon: That kind of robot can only switchto low-power ultraviolet light, but its disinfection ability is weak, and the disinfection area is smaller each time, which is more time-consuming. After all, if a suspected patient passes through certain places, the most important thing is to disinfect quickly and thoroughly. If using higher power solution, it is necessary to improve and ensure safety, then the 360-degree camera can come in handy.

Mak: Remote control is an essential function. We are now designing a new robot that will move and disinfect outdoors. It sprays disinfectant instead of releasing UV light. Robot usually encounters more abnormal situations outdoors, for instance, there may be some unwanted objects on the railing that is supposed to be disinfected, causing interruption for the robot to finish its task. With the help of AIto immediately report it to the management once abnormality is found,staff can remotely control the robot, that is, from autoc mode to avata mode, which requires lower latency and higher bandwidth by 5G technology to realize the human-machine cooperation.

Companion Robot Chatting with the Elderly

Lee: The suspected or the quarantined person may need to undergo certain medical procedures, which will bring risks to the medical staff. Can robots take up the work?

Mak: We can use 5G streaming to facilitate the communication with patients in real time through robots during the initial diagnosis, reducing the risk of medical staff contacting patients. There are also temperature measurement robots to help  measure patients’ body temperature.

Poon: In the isolation ward, we can make good use of the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G to remotely control robots for various tasks. We can direct the robot to different locations while observing the on-site situation.

Lee: However, some people think that the most difficult thing for a robot to replace is the human touch. Is it more difficult to establish relationships in the cold-hearted mechanical world?

Mak: We also want to make the robots more human-like. Roborn has a robot very similar to me because it is designed based on me. But indeed it is still technically difficult to make people feel that robots are true to life. However, the robot does not necessarily reduce the interpersonal touch. For example, can I use the 5G robots to shake hands with my VIP guests or even hug my relatives to make them feel my love? In the absence of face-to-face contact with each other, robots can become a medium; even if you are in the isolation ward while I am outside the ward,  I can still send you some kind and intimate gestures through robots to make you happier. The recovery will be quicker when you are in a good mood.

During the pandemic, we cannot go to certain places in person but can delegate an agent to help us. Some companies have developed companion robot which can chat with, and even respond to the elders. For example, you can make them laugh or make them look worried, which can bring some comfort to the elders. At present, the robot’s responses are indeed limited, but with the involvement of more peers, the future development will be rapid. In this way, robots are not making the world less human touch, but instead can bringing warmth to the world when people are weak and incompetent. There is a kind of robot called humanoid robot. Like Mark said, it can completely imitate a person’s movements. For example, it learns my gestures for making coffee, and it will follow my gestures and even the curvature of my body. Seeing it is like meeting me in person.

Lee: Once the elderly or the child is sent to the isolation ward, relatives and friends are not allowed to visit them. Even if the elderly is in nursing homes, they may not be allowed to visit as well. The only way is to use a mobile phone, but the elderly may have cognitive impairments, and children may be too young to be able to use mobile phones. If a robot gives them a handshake or hug, it can indeed give them some solid encouragement.

Poon: Crisis creates opportunities. The most important is that we know how to embrace science and technology and keep on striving for self-improvement, so that we can alleviate the crisis a bit and contribute to the community. This is better than resisting technology and being walled in by their own worries

“Nova Management” is a programme co-hosted by CUHK’s Executive Master of Business Administration Program (EMBA) and the RTHK, aired on Sunday 2-4 pm on FM92.6 RTHK Channel 1. EMBA website:http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/emba/

Nova Management: 5G Epidemic Prevention Robot (Full recording)

Source: Hong Kong Economic Journal