Mitra helps Covid-19 patients speak to loved ones

A hospital in Noida Extension, a satellite city of India's capital New Delhi, has deployed a customer-service robot to patrol its wards, connecting Covid-19 patients to friends and relatives.

Mitra, meaning "friend" in Hindi, is best known for interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in 2017.

Its piercing eyes are equipped with facial recognition technology to help it recall people it has previously interacted with.

A tablet attached to Mitra's chest allows patients to see loved ones as well as medical staff unable to access the wards.

Mitra is mainly used by patients who are not able to communicate with their phones.

"We mainly discuss my health," said Mr Makhanlal Qazi, a retired government officer and Covid-19 patient who has used the robot to communicate with relatives. "I came here on Friday and now I have started feeling better. I am feeling very happy now"

The robot, developed by Bengaluru-based start-up Invento Robotics, cost the hospital Rs10 lakh ($18,000).

 
 
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