Plot twist! South Korean telco uses 5G to fight coronavirus via hospital-patrolling robot

Modified Keemi disinfects, takes temperatures, tells you off for not socially distancing


South Korea Telecom (SKT) has linked up with Yongin Severance Hospital to commercialise and deploy facility-roaming robots that minimise the need for face-to-face contact, thus supporting reduced COVID transmission.

"The plan is to ensure that citizens can safely use the hospital through a 24-hour constant quarantine system, and to further strengthen the infection control system in the hospital so that patients in the Corona 19 environment can receive treatment at the National Safety Hospital without anxiety of infection," said SKT in a canned statement.

The robots take temperatures via facial measurements. Mask checks are done through facial recognition, AI technology, and voice guidance warnings. Social distancing is analysed via AI technology and 3D cameras that can calculate distance. During the day, the robot offers hand-sanitising services. At night, it sterilises the environment via UV rays. Operation and other real-time data is communicated to operators over 5G.

SKT-Yongin Severance Hospital jointly built a 5G complex quarantine robot 'Keemi'

Quarantine robot 'Keemi' at Yongin Severance Hospital

The mobile carrier claimed the robot can also find missing patients through the combination of the robot's location system and analysis of patient density in the hospital.

The technology is part of a larger memorandum of understanding between the telco and hospital to establish Korea's first "5GX digital innovation" hospital.

The design is based on an existing robot, Keemi [PDF], modified for hospital use. Keemi is known as an "Everyday Quarantine Robot" designed for deployment in communal spaces and public facilities.

Yongin Severance Hospital was selected by Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare as a target for its Smart Hospital Leading Model Support Project to establish what it calls a "smart infection management system." ®

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