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TCS Innovator Envisions Robots on the Front Line in the Fight Against COVID-19


In the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, “Flatten the Curve” has become a watchword – because the front lines of this war are being fought in emergency rooms and hospitals all over the world.

However, one of the challenges hospitals face is that of cross-infection. By being the destination for many of those most sick from COVID-19, it places medical professionals, patients, and their families at risk of cross-contamination and the spreading of the disease to others.

In Trivandrum, India, tackling this challenge became the focus of Jim Seelan, a Solution Architect for Tata Consultancy Services. Specializing in physical and digital solutions to problems faced by both businesses and communities, Jim leveraged collaboration as his own frontline in the battle against COVID-19.

Jim participated in Unite to Fight COVID-19 Startup Weekend, organized by Techstars – a Boulder, Colorado based group that organizes ‘startup weekends’ for entrepreneurs all over the world. Jim Seelan is a coach and mentor at his local Techstars events, and was enthusiastic to bring the experience, knowledge, and passion he’s well known for at TCS to the group of young innovators and entrepreneurs he coaches and mentors.

During this special worldwide event, featuring innovations from 54 countries, Jim leveraged his keen design mind to come up with an unorthodox, but brilliant solution to helping reduce the risk of human contamination while treating patients infected with COVID-19:Robots.

Jim and his fellow volunteers and participants spent 54 hours over the course of a weekend coming up with bold, new concepts to battle COVID-19, and Jim’s contribution was a remote-operated modular robotic vehicle that was ideal for helping reduce the risk of human contamination.

For those in the healthcare field, robots are no stranger – they’re already in use as delivery vehicles in many of the world’s leading hospitals. What made Jim’s concept so intriguing was the modular aspect – with alternative attachments that could make the robotic tool suitable for delivering medicine or new linens, or cleaning and disinfecting wards and theaters.

By leveraging existing technology in a new and unexpected way, Jim opened many people’s eyes to what could be achieve using tools that already exist now – and he gave the other members of his group a snapshot at the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial zest that is very much part of TCS culture.

Jim’s involvement also supported the entrepreneurial program – which will see five teams from around the world receive a $10,000 grant to turn their COVID-19-inspired concept into reality.

"We’re all joining hands to fight this pandemic in multiple ways, and personally it gives me much happiness to be able to use the skills we honed at TCS for this fight"