The global battle against COVID-19 has seen technology play an extremely important role in assisting humans in containing the spread of the virus and dealing with the existing cases. One of the key technologies that has made a huge difference on the ground is robotics. A large number of hospitals across the globe are currently using robots to aid both the healthcare staff and patients.
A study published in the Science Robotics says, “Robots have the potential to be deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls. As epidemics escalate, the potential roles of robotics are becoming increasingly clear.”
Guang-Zhong Yang, founding editor of the Science robotics journal, during a press conference argued that “Robots have the potential to be deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls. As epidemics escalate, the potential roles of robotics are becoming increasingly clear.”
Virtual presence: Telepresence robots could be deployed to provide continued social interactions and adherence to treatment regimes without fear of spreading disease Rather than cancelling large international exhibitions and conferences, new forms of gathering—online rather than in-person attendance—may increase. Remote attendees may become accustomed to using robotic avatars and controls. Eventually, many conferences may be available via high-definition low-latency virtual reality, with the attendees’ virtual robot avatars fully mobile and immersed in the conference context. All of these modalities would reduce disease infection rates and carbon footprint simultaneously.
Automatic temperature-taking in public places and telemedecine: Fever is an overwhelmingly common symptom of COVID-19. Automated camera systems used in conjunction with thermal sensors and vision algorithms on autonomous or remotely operated robots could be used to monitor temperatures of patients in hospitals, airports and public areas. Some robots which can perform this task are: SIFROBOT-6.4 and SIFROBOT-7.2
Disinfection: for disease prevention, noncontact ultraviolet (UV) and dry fog surface disinfection robots are being used because COVID-19 spreads not only from person to person via close contact respiratory droplet transfer but also via contaminated surfaces. Coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces, including metal, glass, or plastic—for days, and UV light devices have been shown to be effective in reducing contamination on high-touch surfaces in hospitals. Instead of manual disinfection, which requires workforce mobilization and increases exposure risk to cleaning personnel, autonomous or remote-controlled disinfection robots, such as the SIFROBOT-6.5 and SIFROBOT-6.1, could lead to cost-effective, fast, and effective disinfection opportunities lie in intelligent navigation and detection of high-risk, high-touch areas, combined with other preventative measures. SIFSOF disinfection robots, could be developed to navigate high-risk areas and continually work to sterilize all high-touch surfaces.