PHOTO: Robots inspect a transformer substation in Qinhuangdao, North China’s Hebei Province on Thursday. Local power companies are using more robots during the coronavirus epidemic so as to secure power supply. Photo: cnsphotos
Robots are expected to demonstrate their value for “dirty and dangerous” medical tasks in the fight to quell the coronavirus pandemic, researchers said on Wednesday.
An editorial in Science Robotics noted that robots can help with telemedicine, decontamination, handling of hazardous waste and monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines.
“Historically, robots have been developed to take on dull, dirty and dangerous jobs,” the researchers wrote.
Some robots are already in use during the pandemic. Thai hospitals have deployed “ninja robots” to measure fevers and protect the health of overburdened medical workers, and robots in Denmark are using ultraviolet light to disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
While robots have been used for years in disaster situations and some medical applications, the pandemic has highlighted the need to expand their role, according to the scientists.
Robots should also be used for infection control, dealing with patients in intensive care and delivering medication and food, according to the editorial.
“COVID-19 may become the tipping point of how future organizations operate,” the authors wrote.