The coronavirus pandemic has produced many challenges for the human race over the last 18 months. Many things we used to take for granted such as food shopping and working have become more difficult, meaning communities have had to come together to support each other’s needs.
But it isn’t just humans that have been working hard throughout the pandemic. Robot technology has also been rapidly developed and deployed to help overcome issues. In this article, we explore how robotics have helped us during the ‘covid-16 era’.
Why are robots important during a pandemic?
As technology has developed over the last few years, robotics has become more advanced and more affordable. This has resulted in the slow and steady uptake of robots in support of completing many simple, repetitive tasks.
Since the spread of covid-19 began, robotic technology has been rolled out more rapidly in hopes of solving key challenges.
As viruses are typically spread through direct or indirect contact with other humans, robots have helped limit human to human contact in many scenarios ranging from hospitals to fast food outlets.
Robotic technology can also be used to lighten the load of already stretched professionals such as doctors and nurses. This has been especially important during the pandemic when there have been more patients and fewer available staff.
How are robots helping?
So, how have robots been helping during the pandemic? Below we list ways robots have and will be applied to help overcome key challenges.
Keeping spaces clean has never been more important than now. But at a time where adding more humans wasn’t an option, cleaning robots have stepped in to help create cleaner environments without the need to add human risks.
For example, Danish company Blue Ocean Robotics has seen an explosion in the sale of their self-driving disinfection robots. These robots use ultraviolet light to clean areas of potential viruses and have now been sold in over 60 countries to help keep hospitals clean and safe.
Using robots to undertake day to day challenges is a great way to limit contact between humans and surfaces that humans may come into contact with.
Businesses like Amazon already use robots to help speed up the process of packaging and delivering items, these have helped support social distancing during covid-19 and will likely be increased in their use as a result.
We could see robots being more widely used to support social distancing in the hospitality space. For example, McDonald's are already testing robots to help speed up the food preparation process and serve customers. We have also seen futuristic robots undertaking home food deliveries in Milton Keynes, helping limit contact between delivery drivers and customers.
A recent announcement of a £160 million initiative to improve patient care by the NHS will also see robots and AI deployed in helping patients get the care they need.
In Bristol, frail and elderly patients will be issues with robots in their homes which will support doctors in undertaking remote diagnoses without the need for these patients to undertake stressful and potentially dangerous trips into the hospital. AI is also being applied by some local areas to help quickly diagnose conditions and help patients receive care more quickly than taking a traditional route.
Robots fight coronavirus
The major benefit of using robotics in the fight against covid-19 is the fact they can limit potentially dangerous human contact whilst undertaking crucial processes that contribute to our normal day-to-day lives. As the technology continues to develop we are likely to see robots being rolled out in other ways to help protect us against potential future pandemics.