- Zafira is a humanoid robot developed by ZafiRobots
- Zafira can perform thermal screening and dispense hand sanitiser
- Zafira costs Rs. 3.5 lakh and is being used at 2 stores in Tamil Nadu
New Delhi: “Hi, I am Zafira and I am here to protect you from COVID spread. Welcome to The Chennai Silks”, says Zafira, greeting customers in a shop. Clad in a beautiful red saree, traditional jewellery, hand sanitiser in the left hand and a vision sensor on her eyes, Zafira is a robot in an eye-catching human appearance. The humanoid robot has been deployed at a couple of public places in Tamil Nadu to ensure people follow COVID-19 precautionary measures that include wearing a face mask, and maintaining social distance.
Developed by Trichy based company ZafiRobots, Zafira is currently deployed at two garment stores in Tamil Nadu’s Trichy and Kumbakonam. To put it simply, Zafira a robot, checks the body temperature of every individual entering a store, alert if a visitor is not wearing a mask or not practising social distancing. Along with this, it dispenses sanitiser and asks people to use it before they move on to shopping. The robot also keeps a track of the number of people entering the store at one time.
Talking about the innovation and its working, Aashik Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of ZafiRobots said,
The sanitiser machine in the left hand is sensor based which means you have to keep your hand under the machine and it will dispense sanitiser. In the right hand, Zafira holds live video visual system which provides live video streaming of people’s mask, body temperature and walk-in count. The vision sensor on her eyes keeps a thorough check on social distancing and capture COVID suspects. All the data directly goes to management. If someone is not wearing a mask, through its voice interactive system the robot alerts the person and says, ‘kindly wear a mask’. The robot is also equipped to guide people about the store – different sections and floors.
According to the information provided by Mr Rahman, the idea behind this robot is to ensure smooth re-opening of activities after the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. He said,
As part of unlock, shopping malls, gyms, and other commercial activities are restarting. The more people go out and the more they interact with each other, the higher the chance of the disease spreading its wings. The new normal calls for wearing a mask especially in public places and maintaining a physical distance. The robot promotes the same.
Though the robot has been designed by ZafiRobots, the idea was originally conceptualised by Chennai based ‘The Chennai Silks’ store. The Managing Director of the garment store approached the innovators and asked them to design something that can take the place of a human. Elaborating more on the idea, Anand Kumar, General Manager of The Chennai Silks said,
We could have asked one of our employees to perform the same job but we want to ensure the safety of both our employees and customers. While we have opened our stores, we want to ensure we don’t contribute to the spread of the disease. Therefore, we got a robot to encourage people to wear masks and maintain distance.
As per Mr Kumar, so far the results have been encouraging and customers have also appreciated the innovation. Zafira robot costing Rs. 3.5 lakh will be deployed at two more branches of The Chennai Silks and a hospital whose name cannot be disclosed currently. In a hospital, Zafira will perform similar functions while taking the look of a nurse.
COVID Innovations By ZafiRobots
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, ZafiRobots has been innovating to assist the healthcare workers and reduce their workload in some way. In the last five months, the team has introduced four kinds of robots – Zafi, Zafi Go, Zafi Clean and Zafi Sterilise. Briefing on the other innovations, Mr Rahman said,
Zafi Go is an upgraded version of Zafi. Both robots help hospital staff in delivering medicines and food to the patients. Both robots are autonomous with an indoor navigation system which means doctors can feed in the details like ward number, bed number 3 and the robot will automatically go there. A screen on Zafi Go’s face helps doctors to interact with their patients while they sit apart. It can carry 25 kgs and costs Rs. 1.5 lakh. 47 such robots have been deployed in hospitals in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
As the names suggest, Zafi clean helps in cleaning a ward and Zafi sterilise disinfects the room. Costing Rs. 1.4 lakh, Zafi clean, a long body robot has jet spray and mop attached to it. Based on the instructions of the operator, the robot performs the job.
Zafi sterilise robot that costs Rs. 1.7 lakh has ultraviolet (UV) light affixed to its body. The UV light sterilise the area. Dr. Avinash Kumar Agarwal, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur said that scientists have known for decades about UV’s ability to disinfect. and for many years, it has been used for sterilisation in medical settings, food production and a number of other places.
All robots can be operated in any of the three ways that are through autonomous indoor navigation, remote control, or mobile application. Though all our innovations await trial, their usage has already begun, said Mr Rahman.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.