The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge demands for robot cleaners and other AI machines across the world. (Photo: CGTN
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly important role in helping the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. AI-equipped CT machines can help doctors better analyze scan results and robots can help disinfect rooms and deliver meals.
Doctors say most coronavirus patients had abnormal findings on their chest scans. One of the key points for these doctors is to evaluate lung infections from thousands of scans each day. Dr. Zhang Minming believes that AI-powered CT machines can offer more help.
Dr. Zhang, director of the Radiology Department of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told CGTN that AI can help doctors detect something they can't see with the bare eye. For example it can detect tiny nodules and also evaluate in details the cumulative volume and severity of an infection.
Zhang believes more supporting data and firsthand experiences are needed to keep improving its performance. They are now working with two leading Chinese AI companies on the overall application. One is Yitu Technology, which is one of the first batch of high tech companies to deploy their AI-enabled CT scan system in Hubei and other provinces in China.
Shi Lei, vice president of Yitu Healthcare, Yitu Technology said this system has three major features, including quick evaluation and diagnosis of the scan, precise detection of the severity of infection, and comparisons of treatment options. This will save doctors more time so that they can take better care of patients.
So far Yitu has cooperated with over 200 medical institutions across the world. Many of their products have been exported to a number of European countries, including Italy and Poland.
To improve efficiency and reduce labor costs, hospitals and other public places are likely to use more AI-powered products. Many Chinese high tech companies aim to seize the opportunities to expand their global market.
Gaussian Robotics is another leading manufacturer of autonomous robot cleaners. Since the coronavirus outbreak, they received more domestic and overseas orders.
Qin Baoxing, co-founder & CTO of Gaussian Robotics told CGTN that many hospitals have contacted them to place orders, hoping to disinfect and clean using robots.
"So far our robots have been sold to 20 countries with 300 kinds of applications."
Many companies say one of the major challenges is to maintain and upgrade the software for the growing number of smart machines. As China vows to keep improving its epidemic control and public health system, they believe more human talent will be needed to fulfill the huge potential of the new technology and meet the growing challenges.