A hospital in India has deployed a customer-service robot to patrol its wards, connecting coronavirus patients to friends and relatives. Mitra, meaning “friend” in Hindi, is best known for interacting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in 2017. Its piercing eyes are equipped with facial recognition technology to help it recall people it has previously interacted with. A tablet attached to Mitra’s chest allows patients to see loved ones, as well as medical staff unable to access the wards. “It takes a lot of time to recover, and during this time, when patients need their families the most, they are unable to visit,” said Dr Arun Lakhanpal, a doctor at the Yatharth Super Speciality Hospital in Noida Extension, a satellite city of the capital New Delhi. Mitra is mainly used by patients who are not able to communicate using their phones.