Technology 3 min read

Robots can Serve as Effective Tools Against COVID-19

ktsdesign / Shutterstock.com

ktsdesign / Shutterstock.com

In a recent paper, a team of robotics experts from the U.S. explain how machines can help fight the current COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the United States has 68,941 confirmed cases of COVID-19. But, the number could further increase in the coming weeks, as the disease spread hasn’t shown signs of slowing.

Government officials are addressing potential staff shortage by calling on retired health workers to come back to work. Already, about 40,000 medical professionals have volunteered to act as a “surge health force.

Unfortunately, the strategy might not be enough.

Coronavirus is highly contagious, spreading through droplets of mucus and saliva. That means health workers, many of whom are caring for patients without appropriate protective equipment, are at constant risk.

In Wuhan, China, the likelihood of infection among medical workers was more than three times as high as the general population. Meanwhile, two emergency room doctors in the U.S. were placed in critical care last week.

It’s not surprising that some countries are relying more on machines during these challenging times.

In an editorial in the March 25 issue of Science Robotics, the researchers wrote:

“Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls.”

Authors of the study include director of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute, Henrik Christensen. Other co-authors include Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and other robotics experts from international and U.S. universities.

Robots As An Effective Tools For Fighting COVID-19

According to a group of leaders in the field of robotics, robots can play a significant role in the fighting COVID-19.

For example, in Wuhan, robots are already moving around to disinfect the residential areas of the city. Similarly, a patrol robot in Shenyang, China, hospital checks temperatures, cutting down on demands on the medical staff.

Meanwhile, startup Asimov Robotics launched two robots to not only provide information about how to prevent coronavirus. In addition to spreading awareness about the diseases, the machines also distribute hand sanitizers and face masks to residents.

However, further research and development could enable machines can do more.

According to the researchers, “opportunities lie in intelligent navigation and detection of high-risk, high-touch areas, combined with other preventative measures.” For example, a new generation of large, small, micro-, and swarm robots can work continuously to sterilize surfaces.

The researchers also suggested that social robots can help with social interaction and adherence to the treatment regimen. Aside from freeing up more medical staff, using machines also eliminates the fear of spreading more disease.

Overall, the impact of COVID-19 may drive sustained research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases,” researchers said.

Without a sustainable approach to research and evaluation, history will repeat itself, and technology robots will not be ready to assist for the next incident.”

Read More: New Study Says People Trust Workplace Robots More Than Expected

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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