The Makcik Kiah 19 robot, fondly nicknamed MCK19, is the first Malaysian-made delivery robot created to help healthcare providers in the country's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic
MCK19 is the brainchild of a team from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HUKM), and local tech company DF Automation and Robotics.
According to Bernama, the team made MCK19 with the idea that it will be able to navigate automously into a patient's room, assisting doctors and nurses deliver food and medication without the risk of infection.
It took the team less than two weeks to come up with a prototype at the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO)
According to a statement published by UTM on Wednesday, 8 April, DF co-founder and also associate professor from the UTM School of Electrical Engineering, Dr Yeong Che Fai, led the work.
MCK19 is based on one of DF's own commercial robots - the Zalpha - which can accommodate up to 300kg of weight on its shelves and navigate any room on its own.
"The usage of these robots will reduce the exposure of healthcare professionals and frontliners to Patients Under Investigation (PUI) that may be highly contagious and need to be in isolation," they explained.
"Hence, it would also decrease the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as hospitals are facing a global shortage."
Better yet, they made the prototype with an LCD screen to show an animated face, just to appear more human-friendly.
UTM said that the robot is expected to be tested at HUKM at the end of this week
"DF will commit to mass produce the robot to supply to hospitals in Malaysia or any organisations that need it," the university said.
According to Malaysiakini, the team is looking forward to the pilot trial because if they find that the robot works well, they will proceed with producing more for other applications.
"Robots can help with many tasks to reduce human presence such as delivering, disinfection, cleaning, monitoring, service, and many more," said the forward-thinking Yeong.
The project has gained strong support from many parties, including the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI), the Ministry of Health (MOH), as well as the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Since the beginning of MCO, Malaysians have really stepped up to help frontliners battle the pandemic:
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