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Coronavirus-testing robot in Japan takes on key tasks, reducing lab strain

Automated PCR screening would ease labor shortage and lower infection risk

The testing robot will be based on a Kawasaki Heavy dual-arm unit, designed for tasks such as assembly and packaging of electronic components. (Photo courtesy of Medicaroid)

KOBE, Japan -- A Japanese medical technology company plans to develop a robot that can automate much of the process of coronavirus testing, as concerns mount in the country over a potential second wave of infections.

The robot from Medicaroid, a Kobe-based venture split equally between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and testing equipment company Sysmex, is designed to handle six tasks in polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests that normally require human involvement. Medicaroid targets an October rollout, it was announced earlier this week.

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