World innovation from Slovenia

Last year, at FarmaForum’s 10th Strategic Conference Value of innovation in Slovenia, we presented a humanoid robot named Frida, which was designed in Slovenia to help medical staff with everyday chores. Guests at the conference were very enthusiastic to see if Frida will ever actually “work” in a hospital.
Only a few months later, this became reality. Frida will soon start working in University Medical Centre Maribor. Mr Vojko Flis, who is former director of University Medical Centre Maribor, now the head of the HosmartAI project said, that Frida will be involved in work in two departments of Surgery Clinic: Thoracic Surgery and the Clinical Department of Abdominal and General Surgery. She will be able to perform routine measurements, such as temperature and blood pressure, constantly monitor the patient's vital functions and then pass the data on to a doctor or nurse. She is of course intended to help medical staff and not to replace them.
Frida already knows how to synthesize and gather different medical information that has been incompatible so far. Frida will give staff time for the patient which is a key purpose of introducing social robots to hospitals. At the same time, Frida will communicate with the patient. She talks to him in Slovene, for example about his well-being, and then stores this information. Frida can show the patient breathing and other exercises and help him access information on the World Wide Web or make remote contact with relatives. This is especially useful in elderly patients.
For now, the robot will only be in training, as the clinical environment is very demanding due to its unpredictability. It is expected to be tested on the first "real" patients in the fall. For security reasons she always has a medical staff behind her to watch what she does.
The HosmartAI project will launch another pilot project when Frida learns enough to start working in controlled environment with patients.
The HosmartAI is one of the biggest European research projects in the field of development of so-called smart hospitals. An important aspect of this project is the study of how people, both patients and hospital staff, respond to humanoid robots.
Frida is made in France, but artificial intelligence for her was designed at Slovenian Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Informatics in University of Maribor.
The total value of the HosmartAI project is around EUR 10 million, of which around EUR 900,000 goes to UKC Maribor and the university. In the future, they plan to give Frida another partner, Smiljan.
We are very proud that humanoid robot Frida is another proof that Slovenia is at the very top in Europe in the field of innovation and artificial intelligence.


Barbara Stegel

Barbara Stegel, MSc is Secretary General at International Forum of R&D Pharmaceutical Companies, EIG. She has...
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