Mahmoud el-Komy robot testing for COVID-19

By Xinhua Reporter

In an unusual scene, a white human-shaped robot was walking on its four wheels in the corridor of a private hospital’s emergency department in Tanta city of Gharbiya province, north of Egyptian capital Cairo.

Cira 03 was remotely controlled by his inventor Mahmoud el-Komy, a 27-year-old Egyptian mechatronic engineer who has been developing his robot until he recently came up with the current prototype version.

“The new version is more accurate, with a higher degree of recognition of faces and face masks. Also a new robotic arm has been added to Cira 03 to make it multipurpose,” the inventor told Xinhua at the hospital.

“Besides its ability to conduct PCR testing for COVID-19, temperature-measuring and other vital functions, Cira 03 is able to perform echocardiograms and X-rays,” he added.

He said his robot helps reduce direct contact between medical staff and patients by 90 percent.

The robot has two monitors: a main monitor on the chest and an auxiliary one down below.

“Through AI, Cira 03 can count the people present within its reach via facial recognition and determine if they are maintaining proper social distancing based on the area of the place,” el-Komy explained.

The creative young man said that he developed three Cira versions on his own using simple available components, adding that he aims to develop the Cira 04 and expects possible mass production afterwards.

He said he has been testing the new version in a nearby private hospital over the past few weeks.

The hospital’s officials said that they welcomed el-Komy’s invention out of the belief that his robot would help reduce the infection rate among staff and hospitalized patients.

“When el-Komy first proposed the idea about six months ago, we were so convinced as we mainly encourage science and support creative young people,” said Dalia Raslan, head of the hospital where el-Komy is experimenting Cira 03.

“The older version successfully managed to perform PCR tests during the peak of COVID-19 outbreak when medics were reluctant.

“Now the new version can remotely measure temperature and perform ultrasound scans and echocardiograms. It is such an innovation in a short time,” the hospital’s official told Xinhua.

At the emergency room, el-Komy’s assistant Abdel-Rahman Hossam, a 16-year-old high school student, lay down shirtless on the bed while Cira 03 was moving its robotic arm on his chest like an ultrasound probe to perform an echocardiogram.

“I’ve been with Engineer Mahmoud el-Komy for six years and I learned from him programming languages and designs. I was also the first to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test by his robot,” the student proudly said.

The hospital where Cira 03 is being on trial is close to the Roboto Academy, a school-like center founded by el-Komy for teaching children robotics.