Will COVID-19 increase our reliance on robots?

Will COVID-19 increase our reliance on robots?

5 examples of how robotics can be used to aid humans

We have seen great advances in the uses of robots in recent years and even before the pandemic robots were being used everyday for many tasks such as manufacturing, assembling and packaging, transportation, mass production of goods and even space exploration. 

We may well see an increase in how robots are used in our daily lives influenced by COVID-19, as robots could help implement long-term measures to prevent the spread of infections in the future. Below are a few examples of how robots could help prevent future pandemics by reducing unnecessary risks of exposure. Also below are examples of how robots can be used in other areas to improve people's way of life.



1. Sanitising Robots

Image from: http://news.mit.edu/2020/csail-robot-disinfects-greater-boston-food-bank-covid-19-0629

MIT CSAIL have created a new robot which disinfects using UVC light. The robot is currently being used to deep clean the Greater Boston Food Bank. MIT are hoping that the robot can be utilised in schools, shops and warehousing to create safer, cleaner environments.



 2. Anti-Epidemic Robots

Image from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/may/31/the-five-robots-helping-to-tackle-coronavirus

The UN donated five anti-epidemic robots to Rwanda to decrease the spread of COVID-19. These robots are able to take patient's temperature, deliver medicine and other essentials and identify if people are not wearing masks. The aim with these robots is to keep health workers safe by preventing them from coming into close contact with patients as much as possible.



3. Blood Nanobots

Image from: https://www.futuresplatform.com/blog/can-we-use-nanobots-cure-cancer

Scientists are exploring the possibility of using nanobots within our blood, although it may be a while before we see the widespread uses of these. The hope is that nanobots in the future will be able to imitate our white blood cells to fight diseases and bacteria. A major aim for scientists is that nanobots could eventually be used to deliver chemotherapy, being a thousand times as potent and without as many side effects as this form of therapy is currently.



4. NASA's Robot for Hazardous Environments

Image from: https://www.techcentral.ie/nasa-toys-with-robotic-upgrades-for-work-on-mars/

NASA have developed a six-foot humanoid, Valkyrie, that is suitable to work in hazardous environments. They are hoping to be able to replace the need of humans in these dangerous settings. It has been designed to be suitable for disaster zones as well as being fit for space.



5. Robot Scientists

Image from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53029854?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology&link_location=live-reporting-story

Finally, scientists have found that they can use robots to perform complicated yet repetitive tasks in the lab. This leaves scientists with the time to work on new experiments. With the help of robots, scientists are able to be more productive. The robots are able to work 24/7 and only needs two or three hours of charge. However, these robots are not cheap. The robot above cost the University of Liverpool £100,000, so it might be quite a wait until we see these in every lab.



Robots will inevitably play a bigger role in our lives in the near future, as they are already so multifunctional. We may well see the increase of sanitising robots or even anti-pandemic robots as different measures are put in place to reduce rates of transmission of COVID-19 further. However, there are still many types of robots still in development that are not yet ready to be released to the world.


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