Connecting Regions of Asia.

Robot Dogs for Singapore ‘Social Distancing’

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Singapore is using robot dogs built by Boston Dynamics to patrol parks. The robots remind people of social distancing regulations. (1)

Singapore has put strict regulations in place regarding social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. The city-state, which has a population of 5.7 million people, has reported more than 21,000 cases of COVID-19. This is one of the highest numbers in Asia. (1)

Singapore originally seemed to have its coronavirus situation under control. But government testing missed clusters of COVID-19 cases, and a second wave increased cases dramatically, from just 266 to nearly 22,000 in mid-May of 2020. (2)

The city-state plans to have a lockdown in place until June 1, 2020. People living in Singapore can only leave their homes to go grocery shopping or perform other essential errands. They have to wear masks at all times when they’re in public. Residents are allowed to exercise outside, but they have to do so alone. (1)

Singaporean authorities are serious about these rules. People who break them will have to pay expensive fines or even serve time in jail. (1)

Robot Dogs Patrol Parks

The Singaporean government has sought assistance in keeping social distancing regulations at the center of residents’ minds. That assistance has come from a surprising source: robot dogs. (1)

Visitors to one of Singapore’s parks can observe four-legged robots built by Boston Dynamics patrolling the area. These black and yellow robot dogs, called “Spot”, issue reminders to people using the parks. (1)

Business Insider reported that one four-legged robot used a female voice to speak English phrases like, “Let’s keep Singapore healthy,” and, “For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you,” as it rambled around the park. (1)

Boston Dynamics, a company known for producing mobile robots, describes Spot as “[a] nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease.” Its features include remote operation, autonomous sensing, 360° vision, and obstacle avoidance. (3, 4) 

Boston Dynamics suggests “public safety” as one of Spot’s potential applications because the robot can monitor unsafe situations or even investigate suspicious packages without putting humans in danger. (4)

Using Technology to Fight COVID-19

Singaporean authorities have turned to technology to assist in the fight against COVID-19. They have also employed other robots – like one shaped like a small car – to monitor social distancing compliance. But they prefer robot dogs for environments like parks because they’re designed to move over irregular ground. (1, 4)

Spot’s 360° cameras and analytic tools allow it to evaluate how many people are in a park. However, it cannot keep track of individual people or record information about them. (1)

Using robot dogs to encourage social distancing in Singapore is part of a pilot program that will run for two weeks in one park. If it is successful, authorities will consider broadening the program. (2)

Singapore is also using Spot to carry medicine to patients at an isolation facility. Additionally, the city-state introduced a contact tracing app in March, which uses Bluetooth to inform people if they’ve been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. (2)

Courtesy – healthy-holistic-living

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