The world has advanced in the world of AI and Robotics significantly and its results are fascinating. In India too, AI and Robotics is being implemented in ways to enhance patient care in an unconventional way. At the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on Thursday, ARTPARK (AI and Robotics Technology Park), which is a joint initiative of IISc and Ai Foundry, unveiled a robot nurse demonstrating some promising capabilities.

Asha - India's robotic nurse for enhanced patient care

COVID-19 has taught us many things, most importantly the need to improve our healthcare system. As the pandemic hit the country, there were many changes introduced on the government-level to enhance patient care, but the risk of COVID exposure to doctors and healthcare officials couldn't be eliminated completely. ARTPARK might have a solution that could be implemented as early as next year.


At the Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020, Asha, the robotic nurse, demonstrated its capabilities of interaction and expressing emotions and its use-case in a real-world scenario. The video of the demo shows Asha speaking in a female robotic voice, and the face looks like a real human with capabilities of smiling, lip movements while talking, blinking, hand gestures, etc.

Asha is the first-of-her-kind avatar robot nurse, which is being developed by the researchers at IISc, TCS and Hanson Robotics under Avatar Robotics, a mission-mode project in ARTPARK.

"Imagine taking care of a patient who is infected with COVID. A human nurse is unable to do that due to fear of infection. So imagine that you have a robot which can do the task which a human nurse would do and the robot will get controlled or supervised by the nurse. So the robot becomes an extension of the nurse," Prof. Bharadwaj Amrutur, research head, director at ARTPARK, said in a statement.

Coronavirus patient in hospital
How COVID patient care can be evolved with AshaCourtesy: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Asha won't replace a human nurse, rather it will be a new tool for human nurses to help take care of those patients that cannot be attended by nurses in person. Interestingly, Asha is capable of expressing emotions such as laughing, smiling and expressing worries, which will make patients get comfortable in speaking to them without thinking of it not as a machine but as a friend.

Asha is currently learning Hindi and Kannada, but it will be trained in other languages as well. She is also being trained to be controlled remotely by a human being. Asha will be deployed to take care of the first patient as early as next year.