Senegal: “Docteur Car”, a multitasking robot to fight Covid-19

One of the most prestigious engineering schools in West Africa has found in the battle against the Covid-19 ground to practice and develop their skills for their students, in service of a great cause.

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The students at École Polytechnique in Dakar, from which some of the elite engineers from Senegal and the surrounding countries come out every year, have just built “Docteur Car”, a multitasking robot for care providers. They also manufactured their automatic hydroalcoholic gel dispenser.

“Doctor’s car”, which is remotely controlled with a camera and an application, can go to the rooms to take the patients’ temperature or blood pressure or bring them medicines or meals, the school reports.

“At one point we realized that in Senegal (…), medical equipment for health professionals was limited,” says Lamine Mouhamed Kébé, 23, one of the students who developed the robot.

It looks like a screen on wheels, speaks Wolof and Pulaar in use in Senegal, French, English and should integrate other languages.

Doctors can communicate with patients through him, says Lamine Mouhamed Kébé. Potentially, “Doctor Car” could act as an intermediary in remote rural areas, he added.

Distributed in hospital

The pandemic remains relatively relatively in Senegal, which has officially explained nearly 2,000 cases of pollution since the deaths of March 2 and 19.

Here, as elsewhere, it has stimulated goodwill, but raised concerns about the limits of health and human resources in the face of the possible spread of the disease.

So the doctors take the contribution from Polytechnic seriously.

Abdoulaye Bousso, one of the responsible for the response to Covid-19, asked the students to rework a first prototype of “Doctor Car” to add mechanical arms that can perform medical tests. Students are currently trying to join this request.

“It’s a whole process,” says Dr Bousso. But the idea is that “Doctor Car” is ultimately distributed in hospitals and reduces some interventions, therefore the risk of contamination, use of protective equipment and even human resources for a tense period, he says.

The school, which educates about 4,000 students from 28 countries, has always focused on initiatives and practical projects, and the pandemic represented a natural field of action for that, says Ndiaga Ndiaye, professor responsible for marketing school productions.

Patriotic fiber

“We are a public facility. There is a concept that binds us all, it is service to society, that everything is structured, “he said,” everything we do has to serve the people. ”

“Doctor Car” in this regard is “far from a gadget, on the contrary, it is very practical”.

The plant’s department for chemical engineering and applied biology prepared 1,000 liters of hydroalcoholic gel delivered to the Ministry of Health.

Gianna Andjembe, 26, designed an automatic antiseptic gel dispenser that is particularly suitable for hospitals and schools, he said.

“As scientists, we as engineers have to face the challenges and take control of our destiny,” he said.

The virus has turned students’ lives upside down, forced to attend lectures on video and, like other Dakarois, to run so as not to break out at night when they used to hang out in the labs after dark. night.

But the health crisis gives a different meaning to their studies. “What has changed is the responsibility,” says Lamine Mouhamed Kébé, one of the inventors of “Doctor Car”. “It gave us a lot more patriotism.”


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