Robots And Humans Dealing Together With Covid-19
With the flare-up of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the focus is on battling the infection, guaranteeing our families and friends are safe, healthy and doing their part to help the society. To aid the fight against spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, robots and computerization are playing a critical role in supporting to safeguard people and in streamlining the provisions that people need as they move to remote working and home learning. Using automation techniques will help to fight this spread in different ways like robots for sterilizing clinics, self-driven conveyances for carrying supplies to individuals as they will keep social distancing, Automating workstations for speeding up the work of pharmaceutical companies.
Following are the ways in which automation is used to fight against COVID-19
Disinfection robots: The leading companies for manufacturing is Blue Oceans Robotics from Denmark .They develop, produce and sell professional service robots primarily in healthcare, hospitality, construction and agriculture and their major award winning robot is UVD robot. The UVD Robot is used as part of the regular cleaning cycle, and aims at preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases, viral, bacteria, and other types of harmful organic microorganisms in the environment by breaking down their DNA-structure. The robot is safe, reliable and eliminates human error. Furthermore, it is user friendly and is designed to be operated by every-day cleaning staff. These robots were used by china for sterilization of hospitals .
The company Dimmer from Los Angeles is also making GermFalcon UV-C robots which are used for disinfect airplanes, and its UVHammer robotic systems for hospitals and variable environments. These were used by three major U.S airports where the flight from china were arriving .In Hong Kong ,vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide robot are used for conducting deep cleaning and decontamination in train compartments and stations to protect passengers and staff.
Robots for Healthcare assistance: These type of robots performed several essential tasks, including flagging patients at the entrance to the field hospital who displayed fever symptoms, monitoring heart rates and blood oxygen levels, and delivering medication and led exercise routines for sick patients. These robots were used by china in Wuhan’s hospital to give some relief to the working nurses. The robot arm on the wheel was used which can perform tasks like ultrasounds, take mouth swabs and listen to sounds made by a patient’s organs, which is usually done with a stethoscope without needing medical personnel in the same room.
Unmanned vehicles: Self drive vehicles which are controlled by the drivers remotely through cloud were being used Wuhan So as to deliver food and other necessities to households .The demand of these vehicles are increasing in the outbreak as more people buy things online as they are staying home more during the pandemic.
Teleworking robots: Applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams are widely used in this time of lockdown but telepresence robot are also reporting high interest. They are applicable where attendee need to move around the location .Ava Robotics is developing these kind of robots and due to current coronavirus outbreak these are in demand in hospitals as it gives family members with the opportunity to speak with patients and elderly residents via video due to “no visitors” policies and lockdowns at these locations. One of the largest hospitals in Boston is deploying the robot to examine patients remotely with the Ava robots as part on the initial consultation, he said. The hospital is also considering using the robots for situations where doctors need to enter and exit a room frequently – instead of a human doing that, the robot can, which saves the hospital on supplies for when a doctor needs to put a face mask, gowns and gloves each time.
Food preparation for restaurants: Robots are used for preparing and serving the food in the restruants. This concept is known as dark kitchens. In the current seneario where many of the restruants are closed in the world , there is sudden increase in dark kitchens in many countries.
Several companies worldwide have developed robots that aid in food preparation which includes Miso Robotics (hamburger grilling and deep frying), CafeX (coffee and other drinks), and Picnic (pizza preparation).
As the world continues to stop the Covid-19 outbreak, it has become clear that robots and automation technologies will be needed as humans and robots work together.
Written By:- Richa Adhlakha, Assistant Professor, EECE Department