The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Danish Robot Can Test for Coronavirus
By Richard Connor
The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.
The equipment uses a 3D-printed disposable arm that is automatically swapped after each patient. The robot takes a swab with a specially designed disposable tool that hits the exact part of the throat from which the sample should be taken.
It then drops the swab into a jar and seals the sample by screwing the lid.
A team of ten researchers has been working around the clock to develop the prototype as quickly as possible.
"I was one of the first to be swabbed by the robot, project leader Professor Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu told the university website "It went really well. I'm still sitting here."
"I was surprised at how softly the robot managed to land the swab at the spot in the throat where it was supposed to hit, so it was a huge success."
A Danish robotics research team headed by Professor Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu from SDU Robotics have developed a… https://t.co/0QAgY3ARsr— Einar Petersen (@Einar Petersen)1590555814.0
The invention could help relieve healthcare workers from the monotonous work of testing. But crucially, it could also reduce their risk of exposure.
The team had found out about the demand for such equipment after speaking to research colleagues at Odense University Hospital.
Hospital medical director Kim Brixen said there was a great advantage in the fact that robots don't get tired and bored of monotonous work.
"Currently, healthcare professionals are carrying out throat swabs for Covid-19; but working conditions can be a challenge," said Brixen. "The task entails long working days of monotonous work. At the same time, the employees are in great demand in other functions."
A prototype to swab patients is expected by the end of June, with plans to have the robots ready for the market by autumn in the event of a second or third wave of the coronavirus.
It's also expected that the technology might be adapted to help with testing for other viruses, such as flu.
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›
By Brett Wilkins
Documents obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and published Wednesday reveal how leading players in the meatpacking industry—one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic—fought the minimal efforts imposed by the Trump administration to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in meat processing plants last spring.
<div id="38879" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fa8fb1444e4ed26d200a49e324e3f9da"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1367195319922872325" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">BREAKING: New docs we uncovered show the meatpacking industry vehemently fought COVID safety measures, arguing that… https://t.co/HTeX4A9anG</div> — Public Citizen (@Public Citizen)<a href="https://twitter.com/Public_Citizen/statuses/1367195319922872325">1614799740.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Tyson Pork Plant Closes After More Than 20% of Workers Test ... ›
- Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open Despite Health Threats ... ›
- Documents Show USDA and Meatpacking Industry Downplayed ... ›
By Richard B. Primack
Weather patterns across the U.S. have felt like a roller coaster ride for the past several months. December and January were significantly warmer than average in many locations, followed by February's intense cold wave and a dramatic warmup.
The leaves on this cherry tree have suffered damage from a late frost. Richard Primack, CC BY-ND
- Plants Are Decades Away From Absorbing Less Carbon, Study ... ›
- Climate Change Has 'Worsened' North America's Pollen Season ... ›
- What to Plant in a Warming World - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Crisis Could Cause a Third of Plant and Animal Species to ... ›
- Rise in Mountain Plants Linked to Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
By Jeff Masters
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America's infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued March 3. ASCE gave the nation's flood control infrastructure – dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives heavier precipitation events.
Figure 1. Debris fills the Feather River from the damaged spillway of California's Oroville Dam, the nation's tallest dam, after its near-collapse in February 2017. The Oroville incident forced the evacuation of nearly 190,000 people and cost $1.1 billion in repairs. California Department of Water Resources
Figure 2. The L-550 levee on the Missouri River overtopping during the spring 2011 floods. USACE