New device developed to limit COVID-19 exposure of frontline health care workers

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Scientists, engineers and clinicians from University of the Philippines Manila and UP Diliman have developed a technology aimed at protecting healthcare workers at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila by reducing their exposure to the highly infectious coronavirus disease.

Dr. Nats Orillaza, leader of the ongoing project, said they created a "telepresence" device, which lets healthcare workers and patients communicate with one another without having to touch or manipulate the apparatus. With Orillaza are members of the UP Manila College of Medicine's Surgical Innovation and Biotechnology Laboratory or S.I.B.O.L. and UP Diliman engineers.

"It's like any teleconferencing device without the need to manipulate the gadget to answer the call," he explained. "It is also helpful for users who are not tech-savvy since they just have to wait for the other party to appear on-screen."

Teams from UPD’s Computer Science department, led by Professor Pros Naval and the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute department headed by Professor Luis Sison, set up the terminals' software, in such a way that the device could auto-answer scheduled and authorized calls, Orillaza pointed out. This aims "to limit touching and contamination.”

"Those terminals, once the call is scheduled and parties have consented to talk, will automatically answer a teleconference call from the outside without the need to press any button to accept the call," Orillaza disclosed.

He also said security measures are in place to allow access only from authorized control computers.

The groups are preparing more units that are easier to use, added Orillaza, who is also an orthopedic surgeon at the facility.

This initiative aims to conserve the scarce supplies of personal protective equipment due to COVID-19 outbreak. N95 masks, gowns, gloves are examples of PPE.

PGH earlier sought donations for protective equipment due to its dwindling supply.