Covid-19 SwabBot Lets Patients Swab Themselves, So You Can Move Away When Uncomfortable

Images of people undergoing Covid-19 swab tests often elicit feelings of discomfort or secondhand pain, because of the clear agony on their faces.

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Thankfully, local scientists and engineers have developed a way to make the process more tolerable, via the SwabBot, a self-controlled Covid-19 swabbing machine.

Singapore-made robot increases efficiency of swabbing

Heading for a swab test is like any dreaded visit to the doctor or dentist — you get nervous envisioning the apparatus they’d use on you.

The feeling’s mostly because you’re helpless in such situations, relying fully on the doctor.

But with the SwabBot, you won’t have to feel so anxious anymore. According to The Straits Times (ST), the robot grants patients full control over the swabbing process.

Image courtesy of NCCS

A joint project by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Singapore General Hospital (SGH), it offers the following perks:

  • Cuts down process from a few minutes to 20 seconds
  • Patients can stop whenever they feel uncomfortable simply by moving their head away
  • Swabs taken will be more consistent
  • Reduces swabbers’ risk of exposure to Covid-19
  • Reduces need to train people to conduct swab tests

Having said that, there will still be healthcare staff on standby to assist if patients encounter any trouble.

Patient can control SwabBot according to comfort level

A fully automated process, patients can simply get the machine running by placing their chin against the base, reports ST.

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The SwabBot will then gently insert the swab 10cm into the patient’s nose, towards the back of the nasl cavity.

As it slowly goes in, the robot will be able to pick up any resistance from the patient, which will cause it to retract.

Otherwise, patients can simply move their heads back from the machine if they experience any discomfort.

Feedback on SwabBot positive so far for Covid-19 testing

SGH and Bright Vision Hospital have tested the robot on 75 patients so far, all of whom affirmed that they had a good experience.

A volunteer even vouched that it was more comfortable in comparison to the manual swab test he had undergone before.

Image courtesy of NCCS

SwabBot is in the process of obtaining a patent, and a CE mark which can potentially put it on sale in Europe.

Perhaps once SingHealth and Biobot Surgical settle that, we’ll see more of it in clinics and hospitals around Singapore.

Would you have a go at the SwabBot? Let us know in the comments below.

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Featured image courtesy of National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).