Over the years, how many blockbuster movies have we seen where robots are against humanity and taking over the world? But in reality, they could now, in fact, be our saviour during this pandemic.
In an article recently published by the journal Science Robotics, Leaders in this field have suggested that robots can assist us during the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. In ways such as clinical care, logistics, reconnaissance and work automation. “For each of these areas,” the article reads, “there are extensive developments, as well as opportunities, to be explored in robotics.”
The virus we are all working against is highly contagious, so allowing them to-do essential tasks could help keep healthcare workers safe.
Robots can complete mundane tasks like taking out rubbish so that essential workers have more time offering care to patients.
So where would robots work effectively?
Thoroughly cleaning hospitals and healthcare buildings
Before any new patient is allocated a bed, each room has to be thoroughly cleaned. With the influx of patient numbers which may be carrying the coronavirus, it’s becoming more challenging to keep on top of cleaning duties. In a typical day, hospital-acquired infections are responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths a year. Imagine how important it is to keep each room clean.
Hospitals globally have now started buying virus-killing robots to help kill all bacterias that standard chemicals and methods don’t.
UVD Robots, a Denmark-based company, has been delivering large amounts of ultraviolet disinfection robots to hospitals all over the world. UVD robots move from room to room using simultaneous localization and mapping. This technology allows the robot to navigate through the hospital with ease. Once in a room, the robot will cover walls and surfaces with ultraviolet light, this destroys any harmful microorganism’s cells, disabling its DNA.
Delivery of much-needed supplies in a socially distancing world
During the global lockdown, the need for medical supplies food and essentials hasn’t stopped. Still, with hundreds of people unable to leave their homes, it has become increasingly important to help those in vulnerable positions.
Many countries have started using robot technology to help their most vulnerable.
United States seems to be leading the robot trend with many USA based companies using robots to deliver food, face masks, hand sanitizer and toiletries.
Zip line, a medical drone company which uses a unique combination of industry-leading technology and expertise. They have been using their drones to deliver medical supplies to local clinics.
Their mission statement is to:
Provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies
Helping PUBLIC SAFETY.
After six of its doctors became infected with the coronavirus, the Sassarese hospital in Sardinia, Italy, tightened its safety measures. It also brought in the robots. The machines, developed by UVD Robots, use lidar to navigate autonomously. Each bot carries an array of powerful short-wavelength ultraviolet-C lights that destroy the genetic material of viruses and other pathogens after a few minutes of exposure. Now there is a spike in demand for UV-disinfection robots as hospitals worldwide deploy them to sterilize intensive care units and operating theaters.
In medical facilities, an ideal role for robots is taking over repetitive chores so that nurses and physicians can spend their time doing more important tasks. At Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital, in China, a robot called Ambit drives down the hallways, enforcing face-mask and social-distancing rules and spraying disinfectant. At a hospital near Austin, Texas, a humanoid robot developed by Diligent Robotics fetches supplies and brings them to patients’ rooms. It repeats this task day and night, tirelessly, allowing the hospital staff to spend more time interacting with patients.
THE DOCTOR IS IN
Nurses and doctors at Circolo Hospital in Varese, in northern Italy—the country’s hardest-hit region—use robots as their avatars, enabling them to check on their patients around the clock while minimizing exposure and conserving protective equipment. The robots, developed by Chinese firm Sanbot, are equipped with cameras and microphones and can also access patient data like blood oxygen levels. Telepresence robots, originally designed for offices, are becoming an invaluable tool for medical workers treating highly infectious diseases like COVID-19, reducing the risk that they’ll contract the pathogen they’re fighting against.
It’s not quite a robot takeover, but the streets and sidewalks of dozens of cities around the world have seen a proliferation of hurrying wheeled machines. Delivery robots are now in high demand as online orders continue to skyrocket.
In Hamburg, the six-wheeled robots developed by Starship Technologies navigate using cameras, GPS, and radar to bring groceries to customers.
LIFE THROUGH ROBOTS
Robots can’t replace real human interaction, of course, but they can help people feel more connected at a time when meetings and other social activities are mostly on hold.
In Ostend, Belgium, ZoraBots brought one of its waist-high robots, equipped with cameras, microphones, and a screen, to a nursing home, allowing residents like Jozef Gouwy to virtually communicate with loved ones despite a ban on in-person visits.
Offices, stores, and medical centers are adopting robots as enforcers of a new coronavirus code.
At Fortis Hospital in Bangalore, India, a robot called Mitral uses a thermal camera to perform a preliminary screening of patients.