ABB cobot supports coronavirus serological testing

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YuMi ABB’s collaborative robot (cobot), has been used in an Italian university study to support hospitals in serological testing for coronavirus.

The application, designed at the Politecnico di Milano, a scientific-technological university that trains engineers, architects and industrial designers, in partnership with IEO, saw YuMi automate 77% of testing actions and assist in analysing up to 450 samples an hour.

Andrea Zanchettin, associate professor at the Politecnico di Milano’s Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, designed the application and programmed YuMi, which is capable of automating well plate “pipetting” during serological tests.

Featuring two arms, the micropipette attaches to YuMi’s left ‘hand’ whilst the right has two fingers, which handle the plates.

According to Zanchettin, this process could save a laboratory technician from the test’s “repetitive, demanding and tiresome” action, which can lead to inflammation of tendons in their thumbs.

YuMi, which is certified for use in clean rooms, hospitals and analysis laboratories, was leased free of charge by ABB to the Politecnico di Milano as part of a strategic partnership known as the Joint Research Centre.

Oscar Ferrato, collaborative robots product manager at ABB, said: “Robotised collaborative automation has incredible potential in the healthcare sector.”

The serological test was developed by scientists at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan based on a protocol created at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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