Artificial Intelligence: AI and Robotics In the Frontline Against Coronavirus

March 23, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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AI can help cut crucial research time in the search for a cure. Robots reduce infections by minimizing physical contact.

Mankind is under assault from the highly infectious and dangerous coronavirus. At the time of writing confirmed infections include 339,035. Nearly 15,000 people have died, and only 98,799 have recovered. The most pressing priority in the battle against this disease is to reduce the rate of infections. Equally important, a vaccine must be found to immunize humans against the virus. Robotics and artificial intelligence, such as the startup BlueDot,  are already helping on these fronts. (TNW)

BlueDot – Artificial Intelligence for prediction and mapping of coronavirus

The potential for AI to add muscle to this war was revealed when Toronto-based BlueDot, which uses big data and AI, red-flagged the coronavirus outbreak on December 31. BlueDot is a startup that uses big data analytics and its AI-driven product suite to track and anticipate the spread of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases.

Bluedot’s AI-driven health monitoring platform analyzes billions of data points. Its process works something like this. It pores over global news reports, airline data, and animal disease outbreaks using natural language processing and machine learning techniques. Epidemiologists scan the outputs from the platform and sound the alert if they spot an outbreak.

BlueDot also successfully predicted the spread of the virus from Wuhan and onto Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, and Tokyo.

In January 2016, BlueDot foresaw the arrival of the Zika epidemic in South Florida.

The results generated by the platform are reviewed by experts and only then released to the firm’s clients.

Another successful application of AI is its use with computer vision and infrared sensors to detect people’s temperatures in public areas such as railway stations and airports. Chinese tech giant Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) has deployed the technology at Beijing’s Qinghe Railway Station. It pinpoints any individual with a temperature higher than 37.3°.

Earlier this month, we wrote about an AI-based disease algorithm developed by Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) research institute Damo Academy and deployed at the new Qiboshan Hospital in Zhengzhou, Henan province. The algo is able to complete the recognition process for coronavirus in a patient within 20 seconds.

Artificial intelligence in drug research for coronavirus

Artificial Intelligence is also helping cut short the time required to research new drugs and molecules to fight diseases such as HIV and coronavirus.

Given the surging mortality rate from the coronavirus, organizations across the globe are in a race against time to develop a vaccine. One of these is Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) AI research lab called DeepMind. The lab used machine learning to advance its research on the structure of proteins associated with the coronavirus and the disease COVID-19.

BlueDot’s AI and Robots

China has been instrumental in deploying robots for many functions hitherto carried out by medical personnel on infected coronavirus patients. By using robots, the virus cannot spread from the infected patient to healthy caregivers. China uses robots to spray disinfectant in public areas, check people for fever, dispense hand sanitizers, and within hospitals, for delivering food and medicine to patients.

Earlier this month, we wrote about Denmark-based Blue Ocean Robotics, led by Claus Risager, which is selling hundreds of hospital robots to China.

Image Credit: UVD Robots

The UVD robots glide around hospitals and healthcare facilities beaming UV light to destroy bacteria and viruses.

Related Story:  Artificial Intelligence: Coronavirus! This AI Startup Warned of the Outbreak on December 31

Virus Map Image: John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center                                                  

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