Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have developed a proof of concept robot for autonomously handling whole blood donations.

Currently, highly skilled personnel are tasked with folding the blood donation bags a specific way in preparation for centrifugation, the process during platelet donation where whole blood is removed into sterile tubing and satellite bags. A centrifuge spins the blood to separate red blood cells, platelets and plasma. However, this process is vulnerable to human error wherein bags can be damaged, resulting in the loss of donations, a disruption to production and the exposure of personnel to possibly hazardous biological material.

Source: Swinburne University of TechnologySource: Swinburne University of Technology

To automate the process, prevent bacterial contamination of blood and subsequently increase donation shelf life, the researchers developed a system featuring jigs, actuators, vision systems and a robotic arm capable of autonomously folding whole blood collection packaging and centrifuge tube loading.

In addition to autonomously folding the whole blood collection packages, the proof of concept system also features image recognition for performing quality inspections and data recording for conducting traceability, and is capable of anomaly detection for manually placing stickers and labels.

The researchers believe that the system can also be employed in other applications in the food, healthcare and agricultural industries, for example.

Watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of Swinburne University of Technology for more information on the technology.

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