Egypt’s Anti-Coronavirus Robot

Engineer Invents Robot to Reduce Patients’ Contact with Medical Staff Amid Pandemic
Cira-03 is pictured inside the house of mechatronics engineer Mahmoud El Komy in Tanta city, north of Cairo. (Photo by Menna A. Farouk)
Mahmoud El Komy, 27, poses for a photo besides his robot Cira-03 inside his house in Tanta city, north of Cairo.
Mahmoud El Komy and his assistant Abdelrahman Hossam inside El-Komy’s house in Tanta city, north of Cairo.

A few months after the March 2020 lockdown in Egypt, an engineer invented a talking robot in his Tanta City house to help coronavirus patients reduce their contact with medical teams.

Mahmoud El Komy, a 27-year-old mechatronics engineer, used artificial intelligence to create Cira-03 which not only protects medical crews at hospitals, but also takes PCR tests from both the nose and the throat.

“The main aim of this robot is to apply social distancing between the coronavirus patients and the medical staff,” El Komy told Majalla.

El Komy believes that, with increasing coronavirus cases and an unknown end of the pandemic, having such robots would be of paramount importance to reduce costs and save lives.

“This does not only save lives, but it also saves the protective clothes and masks used by the doctors and the patients,” he added.

Egypt has spent 23 million Egyptian pounds between July and September 2020 to subsidize medical masks and add them to ration cards. A total of 2.7 million masks were subsidized to ration card holders during this period.

THIRD WAVE OF CORONAVIRUS

A health ministry spokesman said this month that Egypt has entered the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic as there is an increase in the number of infections.

According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 216,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 12,738 deaths in Egypt from January 3, 2020 to April 19, 2021. As of April 13, 2021, a total of 355,104 vaccine doses have been administered.

In addition to taking PCR tests, the AI-powered talking robot can function at hospitals as well as in public places to count the number of people and measure their temperatures.

It also has the gate guard” option to see whether people are wearing masks or not.

“Your temperature is not normal. Go to the nearest analysis center,” the robot says when someone approaches it without wearing a mask.

The young engineer is able to control the robot from any place in Egypt or abroad. He is now also developing its functions to include early disease detection.

“Cira’s vision is to diagnose all diseases by taking the relevant data from doctors. Then I train the robot to recognize this data whether by way of voices, photos or x-rays. This will generally help in early disease detection,” El Komy said.

El Komy won a silver medal at the  International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva 2021 for inventing Cira-03.

ROBOT IN EVERY HOME

The mechatronics engineer hopes that the use of robotics in Egypt will be part of a global trend to rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning in carrying out various tasks and solving problems.

“Of course as there is now a computer in every house, in the future there will be a robot in every house. And not only in every house but in all establishments, including banks. Robots will be everywhere in the future. They will learn from human beings,” El Komy said.

In September last year, Elon Musk's neuroscience startup Neuralink revealed a "dramatically simplified" design for an implant that aims to create brain-to-machine interfaces, alongside the robot that inserts it and several pigs that have the device installed.

Neuralink is developing this implant to connect human brains with computer interfaces via artificial intelligence.

According to Statista, there are 12 million robotic units worldwide in 2020 while global spending on military robotics is set to reach $16.5 billion in 2025. Robotics already employs about 150,000 people worldwide in engineering and assembly jobs.