'Grace', Hong Kong Team Created The Healthcare COVID-19 Robot
The team of Hanson Robotics, Hong Kong behind humanoid robot Sophia is now launching a new healthcare robot, Grace, aimed at interacting with the elderly as well as those isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grace has Asian features with shoulder-length brown hair, dressed in a blue nurse’s uniform and a thermal camera in her chest to take our temperature and to measure our responsiveness. The artificial intelligence technology is imparted in her to diagnose a patient and she can speak few languages including English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
“I can visit with people as well as brighten their day with social motivation. Besides, I can also take bio readings, do talk therapy, and help healthcare workers,” Grace elaborated as she stood next to her “sister”, Sophia, in Hanson Robotics’ Hong Kong workshop.
According to founder David Hanson, Grace’s resemblance to a healthcare professional and social interaction capability is targeted at relieving the front-line hospital staff’s burden overwhelmed during the pandemic.
“A human-like appearance helps in building trust and natural engagement since we are wired for human face-to-face interactions,” Hanson stated, elaborating how Grace can simulate over 48 major facial muscles and has a comforting behaviour designed to resemble anime characters, often a fusion of Asian and Western styles.
As per David Lake, CEO of the mutual venture between Hanson Robotics and Singularity Studio, Awakening Health wants to produce a beta version of Grace by August, and plans are also there to fully deploy her in 2022 in countries including Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, and Korea.
He further stated that the cost of making the robots, currently equivalent to luxury car pricing, will reduce once the company will make tens or hundreds of thousands of units.
The reason behind Grace’s launch is the global impact of the coronavirus which has made the urgent need for humanoid robots, stated Kim Min-Sun, a communicology professor at the University of Hawaii.
As people were stuck at home during COVID-19 lockdowns, so several people’s mental states have affected by negative thoughts.
“If they can facilitate themselves through the deployment of these social robots, it will for sure have a positive impact on society,” she added.