ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGIES HELP FIGHT COVID-19. EC FUNDED PROJECT DIH-HERO OFFERS 1 MILLION EUROS TO NINE EUROPEAN COMPANIES FOR HEALTHCARE ROBOTIC INNOVATIONS, By connecting business and healthcare stakeholders

EC funded project DIH-HERO (Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics) is playing a pivotal role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The DIH-HERO project has received 1 million euros funding for nine European companies to develop robotic technologies in the healthcare sector.

146 companies took the opportunity to apply for the Call for Covid-19 to deliver robotic innovations that can make a significant impact on the fight against the pandemic. Nine of them were selected to design automated technologies for spraying disinfectants, delivering vaccine antigens, aiding patients, and attending medical tasks in rehabilitation programs.

Voxdale (Belgium), F&P Robotics AG (Switzerland), Akara Robotics Limited (Ireland), Jonker-Makis Robotics B.V. (The Netherlands), MetraLabs GmbH Neue Technologien und Systeme (Germany), ACCREA Engineering Sp. z o.o. (Poland), KELO Robotics GmbH (Germany), Rubedo sistemos (Lithuania) and  Hocoma AG (Switzerland) are the innovative companies that received the funding under the Horizon 2020 initiative.

“The pandemic required an immediate response to support health systems. The EC has acted decisively, prompting the scientific community to deploy robots for administering treatment and providing support to patients”, said Professor Arianna Menciassi, vice-rector of  Sant’Anna School, as a DIH-HERO project partner.

By connecting business and healthcare stakeholders, DIH-HERO enables partners to develop innovative products and services for the healthcare sector. The DIH-HERO (Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics) partners will coordinate research efforts at the European level for investments in public health. The Sant’Anna School Institute of Biorobotics participates in the project consortium, led by the University of Twente (as coordinator), consisting of 17 partners spread across 10 European countries. Each project partner will lead a HUB for DIH-HERO.  The consortium is aimed to establish an independent platform meant to connect businesses, knowledge institutes, investors, and other stakeholders, facilitate collaboration and support them to make their products and services in the field of robotics available to healthcare providers.

The nine companies that have received the funding are required to complete their tasks during four to eight-week period. The Digital Innovation Hubs offer coaching through an Innovation Coach (IC) to support the companies during the execution of the project. Selene Tognarelli, as an experienced project manager, will serve as the IC at the Institute of Biorobotics.

“Researchers working in the DIH-HERO expected robots to be deployed to deal safely and securely with infections and treatments in healthcare. We know social distancing is the most effective method to contain the spread of the pandemic. Therefore, robots are needed to interact remotely with the virus, especially with patients who have been found positive and are kept in isolation", said Arianna Menciassi.