Filipino-invented healthcare robot 'Rovidoc' now on duty at Bulacan quarantine facility

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan--The physical exposure to the coronavirus of medical frontliners caring for COVID-19 patients is expected to be reduced after the Bulacan Medical Center acquired a Robot Roving Doctor (Rovidoc) to help treat COVID-19 patients at its Bulacan Provincial Quarantine Facility.

Representatives of the machine's developers and Bulacan Medical Center present the Robot Roving Doctor or 'Rovidoc' to Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando (second to the right) on Aug. 8. (FREDDIE VELEZ/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The robot was invented by the Institute for Innovation in Business and Emerging Technologies (IIBET) of Bulacan State University (BulSU) External Campuses.

Bulacan Governor Daniel R. Fernando said the robot will be tested if it has the capacity to directly give care to the patients without the need for doctors and nurses to approach them. He said that according to the inventors, it can dispense medication at the right time and monitor the patients' condition through the attached Rovidoc apps.

The robot stands on a platform with caterpillar wheels for stability and a smooth motion. On top of it is a thermal scanner that will regularly take the body temperature of the patients, while an attached camera will send images to doctors and nurses at the control area.

The Rovidoc has servo arms that can enable it to adjust the thermal scanner and the main camera depending on the position of the patient's body, and has also a liquid tank and a nozzle spray feature.

If the use of the robot proves successful, the Bulacan government will have another Rovidoc installed at the Bulacan Infection Control Center.

In April this year, Fernando gave P160,000 pesos to the inventors of the robot, who finished the unit in two months at a cost of P150,000. He also recognized Dr. Reynaldo S. Naguit, chancellor of BulSU External Campuses, for founding  IIBET at BulSU and for initiating Rovidoc as their pilot project.

Meanwhile, as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday (Aug. 12), the Provincial Health Office (PHO) reported that 25 new cases, 56 recoveries, and two deaths were recorded in the province of Bulacan.

The PHO said Bulacan now has a total of 1,921 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,130 of these active cases, 240 symptomatic, and 890 asymptomatic. There are 735 recoveries and 56 deaths in total so far.