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Winners of the Medical Robotics For Contagious Diseases Challenge Announced

Top global robotics teams named for inventions including telerobotics for remote control of medical equipment and automated disinfection 

We are pleased to announce the winners of our Medical Robotics for Contagious Diseases Challenge 2020, recognising the outstanding innovation of leading global robotics research teams in developing solutions to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis and future global pandemics.  

The three winners in each category were unveiled at a virtual award ceremony held today, with each winning team receiving prize money of £5000 generously donated by The Wellcome Trust and Intuitive Surgical.


Best Application

‘UVC-PURGE: A Semi-autonomous Virus Disinfection Robot’ by the team at Military Institute of Science & Technology (MIST).

Runner Up: ‘Teleoperated wheelchair with isolation hood’ by the team at Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University).

Best Innovation

‘Telerobotics for Remote Control of Medical Equipment in Contagious Environments’ by the team at Johns Hopkins University.

Runner Up: ‘Towards Affordable Soft Robotic Bronchoscopy’ by the team at Imperial College London and Institut Teknologi Bandung.

Best Design

‘An Intelligent Robotic System for Automated Precision Disinfection in Public Spaces’ by the team at Leeds University.

Runner Up: ‘A master-slave robotic system for both endotracheal intubation and bronchoscopy for the treatment of COVID-19’ by the team at Tianjin University.


This unique challenge attracted 21 entries from 13 countries – Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Pakistan, Uganda, UK and USA – and the winners were decided, from a shortlist of 17 exceptional submissions, by a prestigious judging panel, including Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Co-Director of IGHI, Professor of Surgery at Imperial College London, UK; Simon Di Maio, Director, Research at Intuitive Surgical, USA; Prof. Russell H. Taylor, John C. Malone Professor at John’s Hopkins University, USA; and Dr. Thomas Neff, Manager Software Medical Robotics at KUKA Deutschland GmbH, De.

“The engagement of the world’s leading robotics researchers with this Challenge has been nothing short of incredible, and the quality of the entries we received really underscore the vital contribution that is being made by robotics platforms during this pandemic in delivering solutions for the global community. The entire UK-RAS team and our superb judging panel offer our congratulations to the winners, runners-up, and all the teams who took part in this unique competition, which is going to provide an important launchpad for pandemic response innovations as we look beyond the immediate crisis to addressing future public health challenges.”

Professor Robert Richardson, Chair of the EPSRC UK-RAS Network