“Science is nothing but a perversion, if it does not have as its ultimate end the improvement of the condition of mankind” – Nikola Tesla
This quote inspired the students of the IFTS Industrial Designers course, to realize their final project.
On May 13th, in fact, on their last day of training, they presented M.A.R.C.O, a human name for n automatic robotic warehouse hospital adjuvant. This year, in fact, the Ifoa team, which is in charge of organizing the course, decided to assign the theme of robotics applied to the health sector as the focus of the end-of-course project.
Robotics is an area of great relevance and fully consistent with the trends of innovation and Industry 4.0, on which the Emilia Romagna Region has been focusing for some time; declining the applications of the course on the hospital environment, means contributing to technological innovation in support of health workers and citizens.
The pandemic emergency forced the students to live the training totally online: the team working activities were organized via Zoom and the creative laboratory was simulated with dedicated software, making the program even more ambitious.
In this context, M.A.R.C.O. was born, a system composed of an automatic warehouse and a rover, both equipped with robotic arms for the handling of objects. The idea was born to place the storage point in a room used as a ward for patients with limited autonomy, to store personal items (from medicines to the telephone, from the bottle of water to the book). A rover is associated to it: a real robot, which can act as a Health Operator, bringing to the patient what he wants. It moves on the input of a simple remote control or, thinking of future developments, through voice-controlled App.
The main idea was to create a product that can meet the needs of users and, at the same time, be able to meet their emotional needs, allowing a greater degree of autonomy to the patient. This would also significantly reduce the need to expose doctors and nurses to biological risks.
M.A.R.C.O. has been designed with a simple, easily sanitized and customizable design. The students have taken care of the mechanical design, the prototype of the body of each element made in 3D printing, the electronic programming with Arduino to manage the movements of the components. They have also hypothesized future developments, with applications in other sectors, and have been responsible for promoting the project for the final presentation and on social media, taking care of graphics and content.
This training course, culminating in the realization of M.A.R.C.O., reminded us how a moment of crisis can become a great opportunity for growth.
Now the students of the course are ready to start their internship experience in the company, bringing with them new knowledge, technical skills and an innovative point of view.
IFTS Tecnico di disegno e progettazione industrial, Industrial Designer Rif. PA 2020-14461/RER – co-financed by the European Social Fund PO 2014-2020 Regione Emilia-Romagna Approved with DGR 927 of 28/07/2020.