The Israeli based R&D center of multinational Japanese electronics and robotics manufacturer Yaskawa has announced that it successfully developed a robotic system for testing Corona sample in labs. The system was also successfully installed in the IDF’s central lab for COVID-19 testing, with additional systems already in supply for the other labs in the country.

By utilizing it’s six-asis robot arm paired with external smart components, the automated system provides an optimal testing ground for the infectious virus, minimizing human interaction with the samples. The process includes a sampling of 96 ampoules in each testing cycle and PCR preparation. The company reports that due to the robot’s lack of coffee breaks it is capable of conducting up to 2,800 tests per day, as well as forfeiting its weekend and holiday time off.

Besides the testing speed and the obvious COVID safety net, the robotic system is a technological innovation that will probably service us long after the COVID-19 becomes a page in the history books. By replacing human error with precise software and hardware, labs can work in a more efficient, cost-saving manner, while further protecting lab workers and safeguarding potential infectious diseases from leaking out of the lab. Maybe one of the coolest things though, is that no technical knowledge is needed to operate the machine,  making it quite a helping hand for global health organizations.  

Arik Dan, Yaskawa Europe Technology President and CEO: “The new corona inspection robots answer Israel’s need as well as any other country in the world, to accelerate the testing speed rate and increase their number significantly.  YET robotic system accelerates the testing rate significantly. This could become a turning point for the pandemic inspection management, since as the testing samples number is increased, national decisions are more easily taken and ultimately the infection chain can be stopped. In addition, the system will minimize the risk of lab workers who could be infected by Corona.

The COVID-19 testing robot in action credit: Yaskawa Europe Technology

The Israeli R&D center, a subsidiary of Yaskawa, was established in 1997 and is headed by Arik Dan. In recent years Yaskawa, through its venture capital fund, has started investing in Israeli technologies and startups, focusing on several fields: AI, 3D print, robotic rehabilitation and more.