QF student develops a dual-role robot for people's safety during Covid-19
August 28 2020 11:30 PM
The robot developed Ali al-Rashid
The robot developed Ali al-Rashid

A student of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a Qatar Foundation member – has created a dual-role robot that works as a security guard during the day and as an office cleaner at night.

The squat robot on wheels was developed by Ali al-Rashid, who is doing his PhD in computer science and engineering at HBKU.

"My invention is designed to keep people safe in the era of Covid-19 and beyond though it is built for the age of this particular pandemic," he said.

“The idea started when Covid-19 began to spread,” explained al-Rashid. “I am now hoping to initially install the invention in buildings at Qatar Foundation.”

Most robots perform one function only, repeatedly, in a manner that is cheaper, faster and better than a human could manage.

However, this particular robot will screen and instantly verify the Ehteraz app status of people accessing a building during the daytime.

In the evening, it will silently prowl the halls and corridors of that building, using liquid disinfectant and UV light to thoroughly sanitise it.

Ali al-Rashid explaining the functions of the robot.

In doing so, it will protect cleaners from infection and security personnel from interacting with potentially infected individuals at close range.

Al-Rashid co-ordinated with Dr Bo Wang, assistant professor at HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering, on the project.

The funding for the project came from Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), under Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Qatar Foundation vice president for RDI.

“The project could not have come at a better time,” said Faiha AlQahtani, projects lead for QF RDI’s Innovation Coupon, the initiative which supported the project. “The disinfectant robot that was remodelled in Qatar, can ease people’s lives and the burden on healthcare systems in times of uncertainty.”

The potential uses for the invention – which was supported through QF RDI’s Innovation Coupon initiative — extend well beyond Qatar, as it is designed to operate in any highly-secure facility, even after the Covid-19 pandemic passes.

“I would like to continue working in the research field, with my work being based on Artificial Intelligence and cyber security, because our country requires a focus in these fields as it evolves ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and in order to realise Qatar’s national vision,” al-Rashid added.

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