We are at a time when we are not prepared with resources and planning to handle the pandemics like COVID-19. Just as humans are not ready to tackle the disease, robots alongside too are quite behind the abilities to combat the problem.
The arrival of COVID-19 has truly shaken many industries but it has placed a huge pressure on robotics. Though many technological advancements have surfaced the healthcare industry lately yet the robots are not that fully capable of carrying pout task entirely on their own. They are the best version of Artificial intelligence but they augment human workers.
So, if by following the social distancing technique doctors are all asked to leave the premises of the hospitals, robots will not stay operational for longer. They need human assistance in one way or the other. It is nearly impossible at this stage to automate the operations let alone taking important decision making.
A Robotic Revolution In Healthcare
Fulfilling its commitment to automating, Artificial intelligence has been a great force to bring modernization through robotics in the healthcare sector. From diagnosing the disease to assisting in complicated operations, robots have been participating in the healthcare industry hugely. As part of the emerging technologies transformation in healthcare, robots are known to provide the most accurate readings and assistance.
However, after the arrival of COVID-19, many new transformations are expected in the robotics industry. Many socially intelligent robots will be created and funds have been allocated to improve the efficiency level as well so that robots can be helpful to fight such a disease in the future. Robots are being designed with the ability to interact like a human.
They can interact with more than one patient at a time along with distinguishing people based on their professions- doctors, nurses and staff members. Above all, Drkatin Lohan a robotics expert also stated that
"We are interested in how to develop robots that are programmable by everyone so that they can learn from us in natural interaction rather than us just sitting there and typing in code."
Role of Robots To Combat Pandemics Like COVID-19
Robots have great capabilities to handle pandemics like COVID-19 very well. As you now that people all around the world practicing social distancing they prefer staying locked inside their homes than to roam around on streets or carry on with their usual work-home routine; however, what about those front-line warriors- doctors and nurses who are being exposed to such dangerous viruses every day.
Instead of stepping away, they have to get in close contact with the patients to treat them. The real risk is lurking upon the protectors of the society. Now if the robots have been programmed to handle all such matters diligently, even the doctors were able to stay at home to send basic commands or instructions.
Robots will have no harm with the virus and they can handle the outbreak much more efficiently while keeping the environment safer.
Furthermore, much to your surprise, in China robots are performing basic assistance for the doctors, They are taking temperature readings of corona patients and carrying out other tasks that help in maintaining a clean environment. If not 100% then at least they are catering 30%-40% of the help.
The journal of Science Robots revealed that experts suggest that there is still a huge room for improvisations. If in the future such a pandemic arrives again, then robots will be there in the fore-front to handle and eradicate the disease. Currently, none of the industry was prepared to respond to such an outbreak properly due to lack of resources.
How Robots Can Kill Microbes And Disinfect the Environment
The havoc of Coronavirus has left people and tech savvy take measures that can disinfect the environment with the contagious germs and viruses. Where the UK has created a walk-in disinfecting box for the citizens, the innovators are coming up with robots who can clear an environment from the germs.
The vice president of UVD Robots demonstrated how robots can use the zap of UV light to clear the microbes present inside a closed area, as per the BBC report.
The outbreak has motivated the vice president to improvise the functionality and to introduce a robot that can help in creating a hygienic surrounding. "We had been growing the business at quite a high pace - but the coronavirus has kind of rocketed the demand."
How does it work?
The robots eject growing ultra-violent light that is emitted through eight bulbs. The light destroys bacteria, harmful microbes and viruses. It damages their DNA and restricts than from multiplying. In a couple of minutes, the entire environment can be cleared from all the viruses. Such a robot is imperative to operate at hospitals, as these are the areas with a high rate of viruses. Prof Hans JørnKolmos explains the purpose of the robots saying,
"There are a lot of problematic organisms that give rise to infections. If you apply a proper dose of ultraviolet light in a proper period of time, then you can be pretty sure that you get rid of your organism."
Predicted Revolutions In Robots For Future Pandemics
Though since the outbreak of COVID-19, robots have been playing many roles from disinfecting the environment to distributing medicine and supplying food and taking temperature readings of patients, but there are many greater roles they can opt for if improvised and modernized to do so.
According to Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, robots can help in managing all kinds of pandemics and can limit the human to human interactions as well. From catering facilities to those in isolation to protecting the doctors from getting exposed to disease, robots can play a role in treating the patients and reducing the spread of the virus. He suggested the tech-savvies to make it possible for the robots to work more closely with the medical experts to adopt quick decision making powers and to be more active to handle such drastic situations.
“We need an orchestrated effort in the medical robotics community, and also the research community at large, to really look at this more seriously.”