As businesses start to reopen around the world after novel coronavirus shutdowns, public health authorities and employers are looking at techniques including contact tracing, social distancing, and health screening to reduce the risk of infection. Social and service robots have found new applications. Misty Robotics Inc. today announced the launch of the Temp Screening Assistant, which is based on its Misty II platform.
Boulder, Colo.-based Misty Robotics said it has developed Misty to enable robotics developers “to build apps that offer value and utility for businesses and at home.” The company, a spin-out of connected toy maker Sphero Inc., made its platform generally available in October 2019 and released the “Misty as a Concierge” template in January.
Ian Bernstein and Tim Enwall, the founder and CEO of Misty Robotics, respectively, are announcing the Temp Screening Assistant application at Collision from Home 2020.
Temp Screening Assistant to collect data
The Temp Screening Assistant for Misty II is an automated and contactless approach to detecting people with elevated temperatures and other risk factors associated with COVID-19 infection, said Misty Robotics.
The Core edition of the Temp Screening Assistant can screen people’s temperatures using a blackbody-referenced thermal imaging camera with an accuracy within +/- 0.5 C. Misty II can also conduct an interactive survey, provide immediate pass/fail results, and record determinations.
In addition, the robot and app can send configurable SMS and/or e-mail notifications, as well as provide Web-based administration and reporting, according to Misty Robotics.
A Specialized edition offers an additional custom “yes/no” question capability, a choice of available languages, custom greetings, and the ability to choose to not store screening data.
“Robot [as a temperature screener] really hit a lightbulb for me,” stated David Torres, safety program coordinator for North America at Twilio, a software developer in San Francisco. “It was amazing. Smart solutions for a modern problem.”
Reducing risk for frontline staffers
The Misty II platform combines engaging human-machine interactions with applications to serve corporate health-screening needs, said Misty Robotics. Not only can the Temp Screening Assistant help with the workload of screening employees or visitors, but it can also reduce exposure to infection and provide a positive user experience, according to the company.
“A first of its kind, the Temp Screening Assistant is an opportunity to reinforce a strong people culture and customer-centric brand,” claimed the company.
“This is different from any other solution for temperature screening on the market,” stated Enwall. “It isn’t a tablet. It isn’t a kiosk. It isn’t a human with a no-touch thermometer. Misty II in the role of temperature screener is a new kind of assistant, who can make the whole temperature screening process pleasant and memorable.”
“Thanks to where robot technology and the study of human-robot Interaction [HRI] have evolved, it’s now very feasible to have an affordable and engaging robot experience, which is far better than the very dry kiosk-based experience,” he added.
“Misty’s arrival at our site comes at a time when everyone could benefit from additional interactions that are positive and consistent,” stated Per Schenck, health and safety coordinator at Mental Health Partners in Boulder.
Misty could have long-term value
Misty Robotics said its Temp Screening Assistant is easy to use, maintain, and manage, at a fraction of the hourly cost of a human, and without the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).
In addition, the company said that Misty II can be useful beyond COVID-19 screening as a general office assistant or any of the assignments in the Misty Robotics Solution Hub. Corporate software developers can also build new “skills,” or robot applications for the platform.
Both the Core and Specialized editions will be available for pilot deployments starting in mid-July, said Misty Robotics. The Temp Screener Assistant starts at $2,999 plus a monthly fee. A leasing model is also available.