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Diabetes, alcoholism and hypothyroidism are three of our most common global diseases with potentially fatal outcomes if left untreated. Although processes for symptoms and detection is well known among health practitioners, the awareness among the general public is close to none in some parts of the world, being reduced by illiteracy, social stigma and limited access to healthcare.
Merck has together with Furhat developed PETRA – a social robot that has the ability to detect signs of three of the world’s most common, yet under-diagnosed, diseases: diabetes, alcoholism and hypothyroidism. PETRA, who can be placed in public spaces or in e.g. pharmacies, communicates in several languages and performs her pre-screening based on established frameworks. She is by no means a doctor, but can if needed refer the user to a nearby clinic for follow-up controls; all in an empathetic and respectful way.
After a successful pilot in Stockholm in December 2018 with additional skill development and exhibitions attended during 2019, Merck is now hoping to launch a commercial product in Latin America during 2021 (being delayed from 2020 due to COVID-19).