Special Project, in response to COVID-19 pandemic

SwabBot™ - The World's First Patient-Controlled Nasopharyngeal Swab Robot

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Protecting our healthcare worker

To address the challenges of COVID-19 swab test, we developed the SwabBot™ – a robot for automated swab. This is a solution to protect and reduce the healthcare worker’s risk of exposure to the virus. It also standardises the consistency of swabs taken while providing greater throughput of swab tests. The duration of the swab takes only 20 seconds.

Safe and Gentle COVID-19 Swab


SwabBot™ is a robot which allows individuals to self-administer the swabbing process. By pushing the chin and face forward against activation button, it activates the robot which gently inserts a swab stick through the nose to the back of the nasal cavity.

To ensure the safety of the individual, the robot has a built-in feature which retracts the swab stick if there is resistance in moving deeper into the nasal cavity.


“When we developed the SwabBot, we envisaged a self swabbing device that could be deployed and used, similar to how self check-out systems are now prevalent in the supermarkets. This should be especially effective for rostered routine testing and reduce manpower involved in swabbing operations.”



As featured on The Straits Times, 21 September 2020 

“When patients are empowered and fully in control of the swabbing process, they are mentally prepared and experience subjectively less pain”

– Dr Rena Dharmawan, Associate Consultant pf Head and Neck Surgery at National Cancer Centre Singapore

“The experience was painless, and the process of swabbing by the robot was very quick.”

– Mr Ariata Elizer Ellevera, participant in clinical trial

“I found the robot more comfortable because you can (turn it on) whenever you are ready. So things are within your control. I was worried when I did the manual one because I was wondering if the swabber’s hand will be shaky.”

– Mr Marco Lizwan, 25, volunteer in clinical trial




Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is swabbing using SwabBot™ uncomfortable and/ or painful?

    The swabbing by SwabBot™ is generally described as not painful and gentler than manual swabbing as validated in a clinical trial conducted at Singapore General Hospital. The resistance sensors in SwabBot is calibrated to microsurgeon’s touch to minimize discomfort.

  • What are the benefits of using SwabBot™ as compared to manual swabbing?

    As compared to manual swabbing, swabbing with SwabBot™ enables safe distancing between the user and operator, hence greatly reduces the risk of viral transmission to the operator. The use of SwabBot™ also increases the consistency in sample collection, allows swabbing at anytime anywhere, and is reported to be gentler on the user.

  • How easy is it to use the SwabBot™?

    The use of SwabBot is simple and intuitive. SwabBot™ is specially designed to guide users to automatically adopt the optimal position for nasopharyngeal swab.
    Furthermore, an application specialist will be available on-site to provide assistance if needed.

  • How safe is it to use the SwabBot™?

    The SwabBot™ adheres to stringent medical guidelines and does not pose additional risks as compared to manual swabbing. The swabbing motion of SwabBot™ is designed to resemble the motion of manual swabbing.

    SwabBot™ has incorporated the following bioengineering design to ensure safety:
    1) the swab travels 8-10 cm into the nasal cavity, a common depth based on human anatomy.
    2) when the user feels uncomfortable during the swabbing, he/she can move his/her head back anytime. The swabbing will immediately halt and the swab stick will retract.
    3) when SwabBot™ detects resistance while entering the nostril, the swabbing will immediately halt and the swab stick will retract.

    (Please note that users below 12 years old or with contraindications are not recommended to use the robot.)

  • How long does the swabbing usually takes using SwabBot™?

    The swabbing of one nostril from activation to completion takes about 20s.

  • Is the SwabBot™ application specialist exposed to risk of viral transmission?

    The application specialist will be in full personal protection equipment (PPE) in the whole process from set up to swab specimen collection.
    The risk of viral transmission is lower as compared to that of manual swabbing as they do not have to stay in close proximity to users.

  • Are there any disposables?

    Yes. With the advice from the infectious control experts, the nosepiece and drape are changed after each use to prevent cross contamination between users.

Interested in partnering with us?

Please contact us for more information

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