Robotics in Pandemics

  • Disinfecting surfaces: Large and small autonomous or remote-controlled robots could be developed to locate and constantly sterilize frequently touched surfaces with ultraviolet light.
  • Contract Tracing: The roboticists say combining existing security systems with facial recognition software could allow authorities to retrace the steps of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and contact others who might be at risk, which is known as contact tracing.
  • Nasal swabs: Testing for coronavirus involves inserting a swab fairly deep into a patient’s nasal cavity.
    • There are parts of the process that puts humans at risk of contracting the virus, including collecting the sample, handling the sample, transferring the sample to the test location and the test itself.
    • Automated or robot-assisted nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabbing may speed up the process, reduce the risk of infection, and free up staff for other tasks.
  • Medicine Delivery: Autonomous drones and ground robots can be used to deliver medicine to patients who have the coronavirus.
    • In the field hospital in Wuhan, China, CloudMinds robots were used to deliver food, drink and medicine to patients.

Social Robots: In the time of isolation and quarantine, social robots can help people provide social stimulation and interactions, in addition to providing reminders to follow treatment regimens (to the elderly).