Within the short time frame for the DIH-HERO call an impressing 146 applications from all robotics application domains resulted in 10 awarded projects. DIH-HERO is an independent platform which connects Digital Innovation Hubs across Europe to create a sustaining network for all those who are active in the healthcare robotics sector. The project consortium consists of 17 core partners spread across 11 pan-European countries.

Robotic solutions increase in supporting healthcare professionals and patients to improve the quality of care. Digitization and technological progress accelerate developing new products and enable companies to react quickly on current challenges. DIH-HERO supports, coaches and connects stakeholders in healthcare robotics for accelerating innovation and quick reaction on demands.

In the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe we have provided 1,000,000 Euros for an emergency call to support robotic solutions in the fight against the pandemic. The call was targeted at supporting robotic technologies and solutions in the later stages of development that can be deployed in the healthcare sector quickly, satisfying a current clinical demand or need.

The duration of the call was short - from 10th until 17th of April 2020. We were quiet impressed that we got 146 applications from all robotics application domains within this short termed challenge! 20 applicants were invited for an interview and finally 10 projects were awarded.

Out of these best 10 applications 7 projects addressed robotic solutions for supporting healthcare professionals, others are solutions in interventional, rehabilitation and robotics supporting patients.

The most common robotics systems which support healthcare professionals are disinfection robots. The funded actions widely use UV-C light as disinfection method. Akara robotics for example is currently working on a solution that speeds up the disinfection of a radiology treatment room for 10 times. The Stery robot (MetraLabs) uses UV Light sensors to detect the necessary radiation rate. But UV-C light can harm human skin and eyes. That’s why Kelo robotics developed a mobile robot which can operate around humans as they modulate the wavelength of the UV-C. Other robots like the SAM-Air from Jonker – Makis combine air filtering method with Probiotics surface cleaning spray or from Rubedo Sistemos, an autonomous mobile robot with disinfection modules utilizing ionized hydrogen peroxide mist spray. Both can be used closed to humans without any adverse effect. Finally, the DisiRT system (Accrea Engineering) use multimodal disinfection methods (UV light, disinfection fluid dispenser, and ozone gas generator). 

A Logistic solution is developed by Pal Robotics. The robot is an autonomous mobile platform which can deliver reliable handling of medicines, food and/or blood samples. The Lio robot is a multiple use robotic system that offers various supports for patients. On one hand it works as an autonomous operating robot that can deliver food, collect blood samples or distribute other things, on the other hand it can entertain patients and motivate them to engage in sporting activities. Additionally, Lio has a device for a frequently disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.

Furthermore different companies are working on a vaccine against COVID-19. A fast deployment can become crucial to avoid another lockdown. Voxdale for example is developing a robotic system for vaccine. This system is using the intradermal vaccine method which has the benefit and smaller dose is needed.

For more info: https://dih-hero.eu/awarded-projects/