Lean, mean machine to beam in quarantine

Wallis Wang

A local tech company has developed a meal delivery robot that can be used in quarantine hotels, the government announced yesterday.

The robot named “Rice,” equipped with a camera and an ultrasound sensor, can avoid obstacles and even go into a lift by itself.

Developed by local start up Rice Robotics at the Science Park, the robot can deliver documents and food automatically to a destination after input of an address.

Using technology that helps measure distances by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor, the robot is able to detect objects and avoid obstacles in its path.

With mapping functions, Rice can also navigate through different floors of a building. When a task is completed, the robot will go straight back to the charging station. It can operate 24 hours a day.

Victor Lee Kwok-hong, founder and chief executive of Rice Robotics founded last year, said the robot can help minimize staff contact with travelers who are required to undergo quarantine in hotels during the pandemic.

“We provide the robots to some of the local hotels that provide quarantine service Our robots also contribute to providing contactless delivery to the guests,” Lee said.

His start up has also developed another robot that can spray disinfecting mist, to be used in places like shopping malls.

Meanwhile, another medical tech company in Science Park- Belun Technology – has developed a real-time monitoring system to check people’s body temperature, pulse rate and blood oxygen level.

By wearing special sensors, users can have their health conditions monitored. An alarm will ring when the system detects abnormalities, allowing medical staff to check on patients promptly.

The chief executive of the company, Lydia Leung Lap-wai, said the monitoring system is particularly useful for medical workers to monitor patients or those who are undergoing quarantine.

“The real-time monitoring system mainly makes use of a cellular-connected device,” Leung said.

“We can send data to our cloud and have a real-time display for doctors or caregivers, such that they can in real-time, whether in hospitals, in canteens, or even in their homes, monitor the situation of patients or users.”

Hospital Authority has already conducted trials of the system in public hospitals and a quarantine center.

Separately, Chief Executive Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday that Hong Kong and Shenzhen will step up cooperation in IT development, with Qianhai being a highlight.

“As of October this year, more than 11,000 Hong Kong-invested enterprises have registered in Qianhai, including a number of famous companies,” Lam said.

“More than 200 Hong Kong start-up teams are also developing in the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub.”


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