The current COVID-19 outbreak is currently overwhelming health systems around the world with medical staff and personal protective equipment found to be in desperately short supply. However, a relatively new innovation is making inroads into stabilising the health sector and it’s from an unexpected source. It’s not governments, or NGOs or the public – it’s from artificial intelligence. In short, it’s robots. Robots are going to be an increasingly familiar sight in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and they’re making their services available in a variety of ways.
The Temi robot can move around rooms, communicate with you and carries devices equipped with thermometers and cameras to take patients’ vital signs. The robot has been deployed in hospitals in Hong Kong, South Korea and China and allows doctors to visit patients without direct contact.
A new European project is developing socially responsible robots which can hold conversations with more than one person at a time in medical settings and is hands- and touch-free. The robot will detect your anxiety levels, how long you have been waiting, whether you are busy and use this information to manage its conversation with you.
The Government of Tunisia has deployed a ‘robocop’ to enforce their virus lockdown. Lego disinfectantA police robot is patrolling the streets which detects and questions suspected violators of the lockdown by asking “What are you doing? Show me your ID. You don’t know there’s a lockdown?” It is also equipped with an alarm system in case it catches any guilty offenders.
School students in Taiwan have created a robot build from lego which automatically detects and dispenses disinfectant to clean hands. Next to the robot are scenes drawn by the students where hand washing is required such as using the toilet, being in the flower garden and an operating table in the hospital.