A tiny robot called 'Peanut' has been going viral on social media after videos of it delivering food to people quarantined for suspected coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Hangzhou, China, appeared online.
Even as the death toll from the deadly and mysterious coronavirus rose to 106, authorities in China where the epidemic started have been working overtime to stem the outbreak and prevent it from spreading further. And it seems authorities have now taken the help of artificial intelligence to ease the crisis.The video was shot inside a hotel in Hangzhou where people arriving on a Singapore-Hangzhou flight have been quarantined. According to a report in Reuters, several robots had been deployed in the 16-story hotel on January 27 and 28 to deliver food and other housekeeping needs to the quarantines guests. The move was meant to limit human contact with the virus or those affected by the virus.
"Hello everyone. Cute Little Peanut is serving food to you," the robot was saying in the videos as per translations. "Enjoy your meal. If you need anything else, please message on WeChat".
Amid the novel #coronavirus outbreak, robots are used to deliver meals to travelers in isolation at a hotel in Hangzhou, China pic.twitter.com/BpouokBzMe— China Xinhua Sci-Tech (@XHscitech) January 28, 2020
Over 200 tourists have been quarantined in Hangzhou to prevent the spread of the deadly virus which infected at least 4,500 people by January 28.
China is not the only country relying on AI to help them sail through the epidemic. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 28 confirmed at least five cases of coronavirus infections.
To prevent the disease from spreading through unprepared doctors and medical staff and infecting the hospital as happened in the past with such epidemics, the staff at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett in Washington which is treating the first reported coronavirus infection the US, have been using robots to assist doctors in treating the highly contagious disease.
Originating from the Chinese city of Wuhan, coronavirus like SARS and MERS is a type of virus that originated from animals but managed to break the species barrier to affect humans. It causes patients to develop acute respiratory infections. As of now, there are no known cures or vaccines.