In an episode of the comedy show The Big Bang Theory, one of the protagonists decides to create a robot to take his place during the daily chores in order to avoid direct contact with other people. Upon watching it, the young Brazilian Antonio Henrique Dianin thought that he, also, could benefit from something similar and got down to work. This is how the first version of R1T1 was created, a robot capable of autonomous movement or being remotely controlled that works as a real-world physical avatar for a person located somewhere else.
Once Dianin began to think about all the possible applications of his automaton, he decided to focus his development on the health care sector. Currently, R1T1 is being used in hospitals in Brazil as an assistant to medical personnel for many different situations, from organ transplant operations to therapies for sick children. Because of the benefits that his automaton offers in these type of situations, Dianin has been chosen by MIT Technology Review as one of the winners of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018.
The young inventor explains: "Each hospital uses the robot in a different way, and in the last four years it has been in use in six health centers, it has been used in surgeries, intensive surveillance units, for patients rehabilitation, and as an agent for telemedicine".
In addition to the ability of being a vehicle for telepresence, this robot is able to move autonomously and to process natural language due to the artificial intelligence that it possesses. Due to these capabilities, it can be used as a vehicle for a chatbot that understands the needs of patients and it is able to offer an appropriate response. On the other hand, its connectivity allows it to communicate with medical equipment and computer systems for hospital management. For instance, R1T1 is able to access an ultrasound machine while the doctor performs a scanning and to display the images on its screen.
The associate professor of Telecommunications at the European University of Madrid (Spain) Víctor Padron, who is also a jury member at Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018, highlights that this innovation is "a mature project capable of improving the patients’ hospital care." The expert also values its "potential to be used in many other areas of application of service robotics."