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[00:00:00]

Hey, do you know what will go great with this podcast right now? A scrumptious Cadbury snack, crumbly biscuits smothered in smoothie, delicious Cadbury milk. Chocolate. Oh, yeah. Cadbury snack. The perfect biscuit he buys for that mid-morning break. Pick one up in a store today. We're going to stay with the pandemic.

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And since it took hold in March and April, we featured several pieces of technology aimed at mitigating the spread and impact of the coronavirus PPE disinfection, air purification, just some of the areas that were being discussed.

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And I'm joined now to have a review of where we are by the CEO of Hakura Robotics, Dr Khanum, again, professor of medical device, technology consultant, physician at the University Hospital, Golway, Derrick O'Keefe and senior vice president with no virus at Kieran McBride to bring us up to speed on how their devices and resources have progressed over the last few months. Good morning and welcome to you all.

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Now, I want to start with I want to start with Kiran, because I haven't spoken to him about Navarros before.

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Good morning, Kiran. Morning. You. Now, I'm interested in novas because I came across it completely accidentally, my daughter wanted to go to the dentist and was concerned about hygiene in the dentist's surgery. You know, how do they clean the air after maybe a drill has been used on their aerosols and so on? And she was told that there's a machine called Navarros, which is used in these kinds of situations and it guarantees aerosol purity.

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So please explain, how does Navarros work? Right, sure, first of all, I think one word we wouldn't use as guarantee. I don't think anybody can ever guarantee anything 100 percent. Our machine is based on plasma. Plasma, as you know, as an energized gas. We have developed a range of machines which are very compact, low cost, and which continuously remove pathogens from the air in any indoor environment. Be that dental will be the hospital, will be that any kind of place where people congregate and the plasma field inside the device continuously, physically destroys the pathogens that pass through it on the air stream.

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So often inside the box pulls air into the box, the air passes over our patented plasma coil. In effect, it becomes plasma sized, it turns into plasma. And at that moment, the pathogens that any organic compounds in the air stream are instantaneously destroyed or physically ripped apart. So the machine runs continuously for us.

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So we are going to be destroyed as they are drawn. So they will be physically destroyed.

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Now, how much air goes through the machine every minute and how long would it take to.

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And I hesitate to use the word guarantee on your injunction, but how long do you think it would take to get 100 percent or close to it, removal of all this organic material in the air after, for example, a patient has sat in the chair for half an hour in a dental surgery and then leaves. How much time does the dentist need to have the machine working to get pretty pure air going about the room again?

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OK, great question. It depends, it depends. We have we have a number of different machines which work at different airflows in that particular situation, you're looking at particular you're looking at what's called dental slurry in the air and our largest machine at that point, we've done some rough calculations. It might be seven minutes, seven to eight to nine to 10 minutes. The smaller standard machines work on a lower power, continuous basis and in the background are always reducing the viral, the bacterial, the fungal load by destroying the pathogen and just is working.

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Those machines are drawing in the air. So if a patient has covid-19 and is expelling aerosols, add that as that's happening routinely, the machine is is working away.

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It's always reducing the success, always reducing the load. A measure of your success would be how well commercially the machine is doing and who's buying it. So tell me. We're currently exporting to around 60 countries worldwide, tedious to start naming them all, but pretty much everywhere in Europe, pretty much any country would mention in Asia as well. The machines are used extensively in hospitals and dental practices, a more and more in schools, in private houses. Consumers are using them anywhere where people are gathered indoors and are concerned about the safety of the machines run 24 hours a day, as I say, to continuously reduce the bacterial viral, the bio burden in the atmosphere.

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That's how they work. It's a continuous Always-On pathogen. Reducing taxes is a noisy machine.

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No, well, I mean, our largest machine, which will process almost a thousand cubic meters per hour, obviously does make a little bit of noise. But the standard machines that we sell the most of the smaller ones, just to give you a sense of perspective, is roughly the size of a shoe box. The larger one I like to refer to as the pizza box. It's roughly the size of two pizza boxes on top of each other that runs at about 40 to 45 decibels.

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The smaller machine runs at about 35. So completely.

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I'm just thinking in a in a for example, in a radio studio, our radio story is about four meters by four meters. For example, you could have one of the smaller machines working constantly, which would be constantly, which is not a bad idea.

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And there are other kinds of technologies that purify the air, are they? I'm not asking you to comment on commentators, but do they all use the same sort of technology or I heard Ozo being advertised.

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There are many different many different ways to skin a cat. There are many different ways to look at this whole problem. Our technology is one of the kind. It's patented. We've got a patented world wide. It's the only machine, the only technology utilizing plasma that works is ours because there are no side effects. There are no toxic byproducts of any kind produced by the machine. It's completely 100 percent safe to use. The only thing that comes out of this machine is air, whose bacterial viral pathogen load has been significantly reduced.

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That's the only thing it produces. OK, and the cost of these machines.

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Well, we work we work with partners in our various markets and the partners set the prices and by and large, we work in Ireland with McGriddles, the McGriddles Group and with finance. Silens will sell to the medical establishment. McGriddles will sell to everyone else. They're doing a really good job. The prices are advertised on the website and what I will say, total cost ballpark.

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But you know, I'm not asking you to nail your colours to the mast a small machine would cost. Are we talking about a couple of hundred? Are we talking about more? No.

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The small machine will cost in the region, including tax about eighteen hundred euro machine. OK, the larger one, about 3000. But bear in mind, there are no filters, there are no chemicals, there are no ongoing costs. So the total cost of that machine over a three to five year period is actually very low.

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And presumably presume you're manufacturing a dramatically. Yeah, all the all the manufacturing, all the work, everything was done. No, this is a 100 percent Irish, if you want to call it a success story. The manufactures and portaledge, the research and development in Dublin. Yeah, we've had to, you know, quadruple quintuple this year. It's been a, you know, real exercise in kind of managing supply chains, logistics, production. And our guys have done an incredible job.

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So a shitload of importation as well.

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Yeah. Now, basically, this is plug and play. You plug it in. If it goes, plug it in. Off it goes. Okay.

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Well, look, Karen, thank you very much. As I say, I came across it by accident, but am very impressed by the operation. Expensive maybe for people domestically. But depending on your situation, it could be a very good investment and certainly commercially, medically, if this delivers as promised, it could help to limit infection greatly. Kieran McBride, who's senior vice president from Navaira.

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Thank you very much.

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Now we want to talk to the CEO of a robotics, Dr Khanum. Again, we spoke to Conor before on the program. Good morning. Good morning.

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Now, your technology, very interesting. You've technology.

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And the idea is you have a robot and I don't know what it looks like, but you have a robot and it can be trundled into a space and it bathes that space every surface with UV light and kills the virus. That's it. Simplest, simplistically, yes. So you were testing it on the Lewis when we last spoke. What was the result of the test?

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So we've been testing extensively in hospitals. We did some work on public transport, as you mentioned, and we've found that it's it's highly effective. The device has been the technology behind this has been proven over a number of years now and lots of other industries. But I guess what we've been trying to do is to put it onto a robotic platform, which really has the benefit of it, takes people away from the front line of cleaning. And it's something that's highly scalable and that enables us to clean it up much higher frequency.

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So our goal wasn't reading to well, even though we did show that it was it was highly effective, our goal was really to validate the practicality of the solution. And we've seen now and predominantly in hospital settings and that this is something that could really complement the existing infection control procedures that are being used now.

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An example would be and I know you've been working with at least one department of radiology, someone goes in for an MRI scan or any kind of a scan.

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They're loaded up onto the machine. And then after the process, which could take 10 minutes or a half an hour, whatever it might be, then everything's got to be cleaned down. What happens with your machine exactly?

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At the moment, we've kind of identified radiology being a big area and what is a problem right now, because radiology traditionally and has worked very efficiently. People go in for short scan and the cleaning is only a couple of minutes now with covid. If there's a patient that's suspected of having it or having it, and it can be anywhere up to an hour and a half to clean the room. And by the time the cleaners come in and do their job, radiographers have to be in there and so on.

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And that has really destroyed or it's really had a big problem on the waiting lists that are already growing. People probably should have seen 50 or 60 people in a day. Now it's only 10. And so our robot is affecting someone that we can deploy in there for 15 minutes and we can do this. We've shown that we can do a horrible job as what was previously being done in a much shorter period of time. And the new robot which we're building, we hope to do that further.

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The technology exists in other machines that other companies have manufactured. But you claim that you have a cleverer machine and a more effective machine than some of the others. What's very innovative about yours?

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So I think we come from a slightly different from a slightly different angle than the folks in the virus that could have lead with that. They've patented this great technology for killing germs. What we've done is we've focused on how to take technologies like that and make it more practical, more portable. So traditionally utilites have been quite challenging to deploy and because the light can be somewhat hazardous around people. So that means that really the only rooms that this can be used have to be evacuated prior to use.

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And quite often the machines actually physically move to different locations in the room. And which can be problematic means people have to keep coming in and out of the room to move them into place. What we have is a fully autonomous system that's able to very intelligently move around the room, knowing which parts of the room need more light than others. Well, that's kind of what we're effectively doing here, is enabling far smarter, more informed Keating to take place without the requirement.

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And that has traditionally been the case, that we need a lot more people to do it.

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So in terms of the other locations beside radiology, within the medical systems, I mean, for example, an ICU bed, someone recovers and they are brought back to the general covid ward or whatever. Could you bring your robot in to do the job there?

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Yeah, well, traditionally in hospitals, we've seen infections becoming a growing problem. Superbugs, things like MRSA and C. diff. They have been hugely problematic in places like ICU, surgical theatre. And if people pick up these infections, it can cause much longer term problems than maybe even the original reason they were in for. So we've identified those as areas where the technology could make sense and we've been engaging with people in collaborative, told them our hospital, and they've really helped us kind of understand where the need is.

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And they've largely driven and some of these kind of emerging areas. And another thing we've noticed is that especially with covid, there's a huge amount more administration that needs to get done. A lot of cleaning is still paper-based, which, you know, if you double the amount of cleaning that gets done that has knock on effects, there's a lot more kind of checking up that needs to get done. And what we're trying to do is build a system that can kind of automate much of this.

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So, in fact, what it's enabling is people's time to be freed up from kind of more mundane work and, you know, enables them to reallocate that time and things that have more value.

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I mentioned before, perhaps when I was talking to you about what Boeing are doing for the next generation of objets, where the loo after you've finished with it, you close the door, it locks and the loo and all its bits and pieces are bathed in UV light for a few minutes, and then the door automatically unlocks and the next person can go in. So, you know, this technology is the kind of technology that's going to become part of our daily lives, probably routinely and in shopping malls and all the rest of it, that this may be part of a whole disinfection.

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Regime, yeah, yeah, I think that, like, one of the challenges we have is that like in places like Plains that can the capital expense is there to retrofit one of the toilets with those lights. There's many applications. If you think of the hotel industry, think of schools where it's not possible to completely retrofit the schools with lights in these kind of places. So we've actually very deliberately designed our robot be versatile enough that it can be small enough that's able to go into places like that, because I think in the time that it's going to take for us to rebuild buildings the way they should be built, using things like anti-microbial paint where germs will stick to the surface in the first place, the time it's going to take us to get there.

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And there's a gap that needs to be filled quite urgently. And hopefully our robot goes some way to to solve that problem. OK.

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Connor, it's great stuff. Thank you very much. That's Dr Khanum again, CEO of ACARA Robotics. By the way, we have a question for Karen is still listening. Karen, the senior vice president of Navarros.

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And it's it's to do with an eight. You know, I don't know what they is, but it's from can a question can the machine be retrofitted to an existing you? That's an air handling unit, I presume.

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Hello there. Yes, Kiran. Yes. Yeah. Can your machine be retrofitted to an existing air handling unit?

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Machines are currently designed to be standalone, portable. So the strict answer to that question is no. But we work we work it in cool hearts. We work in cooperation with such systems. And think about our systems are they could be they could be placed very close to people's are creating a kind of new virus bubble around the person, whereas the H5 is very general, kind of a wash of air, if you will, on machines can be very precisely targeted.

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And we think that's actually more effective to do it that way. All right.

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OK, well, our third guest is Professor Eric O'Keefe of NYU, Golway, professor of medical device, technology consultant, physician at the University Hospital in Galway.

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Derrick, good morning to you.

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Good morning pass for you. Now, you have been looking at maybe the lessons that have been learned from our experience with covid-19 and the coronavirus and how things have changed and how we might learn from those and apply the lessons that technology has really taught us by simply being there. Yes, I guess in many ways, the kind of digital health technology has been showing great promise for years and, you know, covid-19 come along and it was a problem that's met the solution that was kind of brewing.

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So it was a perfect time for lots of things in digital technology to come of age and actually shoulder their use in the clinical domain and managing this to this pandemic.

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Now there's tele medicine, you know, where you use telephonic devices and then what they're calling em health. What is the difference between the two approaches? And so the broad term will be digital, has technology, and then under that umbrella would be lots of different streams, as you mentioned, like telemedicine or health, which specifically looks at mobile health technology. So something that's maybe tied into your smartphone ecosystem. And as you know and you know, only since 2007 we've had the iPhone.

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And in that relatively short time, you know, the world has changed completely with how entwined it is in our lives. And that ecosystem of having a wireless device with so much computing power allows us to integrate lots of things to it, such as the smartphone and so on that we've seen in the last few years. And obviously then physiological sensors from a digital health point of view showed great promise to basically have you almost quantified all the time your physiological markers such as heart rate and temperature and so on.

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And so as part of a task force and it was organized by Harvard and Mass General Hospital in the States to look at all the different options with mobile health, both what's there at the moment commercially, and then could come down the line with kind of world class research labs that are looking at novel uses of technology. So we we looked at that for the last three months for our digital health technology. And we published our report last week on this.

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And in that, we showed that there is a role for this. And as you would have seen, you know, clinically with this pandemic that it cut so many health systems unaware, you know, there was a need to rapidly deploy field hospitals. And that has never really been done before in kind of a civilian space. So, you know, they needed ways to monitor hundreds of patients in Boston and New York and so on, essentially a tent in the middle of a park.

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So this is where handheld technology really has has come to its floor.

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And this digital transformation of standing for mobile, basically, that's mobile health.

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So, you know, the smart watch the smartphone, you know that Apple obviously pioneered many of the health initiatives in their last smartwatch. And they on their website when they were launching there were giving examples of someone, you know, whose heart was being monitored constantly and had a heart attack and an alert went out to the nearest and dearest so the person could be saved. And another one was a woman going into labour and an alert going out to her partner that labor had happened again because of monitoring on the phone.

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So these things, they looked kind of space age and gimmicky, but for covid-19 real applications. Definitely, I think that's what's happened here, that's just digital transformation of health care. You know, it wasn't led by a CEO or a CTO. It was actually led by a pandemic that needs most. So very quickly all across the world, especially in Ireland, we transformed, for example, our outpatient services to digital. So we went virtual. We were able to change a system that traditionally was paper based and face to face very quickly clinicians.

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And we're able to see patients virtually without, you know, using one of the audiovisual tools or, you know, telephone. They were able to mobilize quickly and use the tools around them to deliver care to patients. So it has been a transformational thing for digital health. Now the genie is out of the bottle and it's going to have a lot of users both in the hospital and outside the hospital.

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Yeah, there are wonderful projects. I just mentioned a couple does their 3D live with a guy called Frank Khorram. And this is the design of an adapter for ventilator's, which could be 3D printed and allow the capacity of certain ventilators to to double. Another one is the digital cough project. I might ask you about that. That's in conjunction with MIT. What's the digital cough project?

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So in the last few months here and then we've collaborated with the university, there's a great kind of, you know, pollination between the medical school and the engineering school. And we've come up with some innovations, you know, where we see a clinical problem. Then we try and fix it. I'm one of them is is a digital project. So the way we screen or triage for for covid clinically is person's cough, obviously their temperature or a sore throat.

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There's a three pronged criteria we've been using since March, since the Juhan criteria came out. And you've probably seen it yourself with kind of national figures that for every maybe 100 people that were screened, maybe only five or 10 people are actually positive and certainly myself working as a doctor. And the hospital for every 20 people that come in on call, one of them are suspicious for covid based on those symptoms of those 15, maybe only one or two, actually Hadco with the rest of the traditional COPD exacerbations or bacterial problems.

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And so therefore, I thought about at the time, because I have heard the traditional cough of Colvard and I thought it was quite distinct from my own ear. And I know myself from what I've done with Heyi, that artificial intelligence is really good at teasing out patterns and in data. So with colleagues at MIT, we've collaborated now and developed a project for by your Google home, for example, your Aleksa, your smartphone. It could listen to your cough.

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It would never be able to actually diagnose if you had covered. You'd need, you know, PCR for that. But for example, it would be able to perhaps trias you to say that you're maybe that's a high risk cough, a medium risk cough or a low risk of just based on the sound. This is an example of that, a healthy ecosystem helping all of us to live better lives. So we're working on the technology to actually use the technology in your environment to actually help your your health care outcomes and then hopefully get a better triage.

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All right. Professor Derek O'Keeffe of NYU Galway and Dr Cunningham, again, of the Carra Robotics and Kieran McBride of Novarum. Thank you all very much for joining us.