There may soon be healthcare robots that are capable of holding a conversation with more than one person at a time. It is a project designed by AI and robotics experts to help older people but could also be used to help handle virus outbreaks like the Coronavirus pandemic.
Seeing how transmissible these viruses are, it is a conversation that is so relevant today. This level of innovation could really challenge what we consider “normal”. The hands-free speech interface of this magnitude could be more in demand in possible future outbreaks.
Robots in healthcare are not new as some hospitals reportedly have robots performing menial tasks like shifting supplies and patient records.
Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare (SPRING) will develop new robots which can deal with multiple people in social situations. This drive will develop new research into conversational AI, computer vision, machine learning and human-robot interaction alongside human behaviour analysis.
This groundbreaking technology could be so impactful right now as there will be lesser chances of spreading the virus if robots were tending to the infected. The drawback now, however, is SPRING is a four-year project. Either way, here are a few impacts such technology could have made:
- Robots are designed to be able to carry out repetitive and monotonous tasks so human staff have more energy to tend to issues that require human decision-making skills, creativity and most of all care and empathy.
- They are created to undertake tasks potentially dangerous for humans like testing solutions and would be so useful in emergency situations that could be harmful in a pandemic like we are currently experiencing.
- In terms of aiming for a germ-free environment in healthcare and everywhere else could, it would be more effective in disinfection activities.
- We hear news of how lonely so many COVID-19 infected have been, well, with the advancement of robotics and AI, that could be eliminated as well.
This technology could revolutionize the future of healthcare, we all just need to be better prepared, be welcoming and adapt to this not so distant possibilities of change that come with science.