Robots and AI to transform hospital’s resilience to disasters such as COVID-19

Oct. 9, 2020

Dr. Leandro Pecchia from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick has been awarded €13 million for the ODIN project, which will explore the use of robots and artificial intelligence to help ease the pressures on hospitals, which will be crucial also in the recovery of COVID-19 and to help any other future disasters, announced the university. 

European Union (EU) hospitals were completely unprepared to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, also because the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds per million of EU habitants has been reduced by 75 percent in the past 30 years, and due to the unneglectable need to invest in territory healthcare services in response to demographic challenges. 

Dr. Pecchia comments: “We have identified 11 hospital critical challenges, which ODIN will face combining robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to empower workers, medical locations, logistics and interaction with the territory.” 

ODIN will deploy technologies along three lines of intervention: 

· Empowering workers using AI, cybernetics and bionics 

· Introducing autonomous and collaborative robots for enhancing hospital efficacy and safety 

· Introducing and enhancing medical locations and medical device management with IoT and video analytics 

Dr. Pecchia continues: “These areas of intervention will be piloted in six top hospitals in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Utrecht and Lodz. ODIN will span from clinical to logistic procedures, including patient management, medical device and PPE management, disaster preparedness for example reorganizing Hospitals in case of pandemics, and hospital resiliency.” 

The researchers will work with three top medical device manufacturers: Samsung, Philips and Medtronics; as well as seven SMEs to achieve the vision of the project, which is that hospital management can be revolutionized by using data driven management such as Industry 4.0 technologies, the same way evidence based medicine revolutionized medicine with data-driven procedures. 

University of Warwick has the release