Life-sized robot tells people to wash their hands at UHG

Galway Daily News hospital robot tells people to wash hands with staff covid-19
Staff from UHG with DAVE the robot marking the WHO Hand Hygiene Day

A life-sized robot reminding people to wash their hands has been trialled at University Hospital Galway by researchers at NUIG and clinicians at the hospital.

The white robot named DAVE (Droid Audio Visual Educator) was developed to improve the hand washing behaviour of visitors, patients and staff at the hospital.

Professor Derek O’Keeffe, the project’s principal investigator, said that cleaning hands regularly is one of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of COVID-19, as well as many other common infections.

“Awareness of the importance of hand hygiene has improved during the pandemic but fresh thinking is needed to keep the message active in people’s minds,” said Professor O’Keeffe.

“We trialled the use of a life-sized robotic platform to provide a digital nudge to people on entry/exit to remind them to clean their hands.

“This is part of a project that will allow us to begin to scientifically explore an exciting and new area of human-robot healthcare education interaction.”

Judith Davitt, Assistant Director of Nursing for Infection Prevention and Control Services at the hospital, added that good hand hygiene is one of the greatest protections for our health and the health of our families.

“We were delighted to be able to trial the use of a robot to remind people of the importance of effective hand hygiene and we look forward to future opportunities to harness technology to improve hand hygiene education and compliance,” said Judith Davitt.