In this digital age of modern technology, everyone must be quite familiar with the word “Robot”. So, what’s come to mind when we talk about robots?
Does Wall-E or Optimus Prime from Transformers is the first thing that comes to your mind? The sci-fi culture of Hollywood had always been fascinated with the concept of human lookalikes that can perform actions similar to humans and by giving the exaggerated, humanoid concepts of robots to fascinate the audience. But what exactly do we understand when we talk about robots in the real world?
What are Robots?
Human-like automatically controlled machines that can perform certain mechanical operations to replace human’s efforts can be best described as robots. And though it may not always resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner, robots can do a specific task assigned to them repeatedly and without any fatigue to a far better accuracy that’s humanely possible.
And the field that deals with robots and their construction and operations can be called robotics. Robotics can also be described as the intersection of science, engineering and technology that creates machines, called robots that can replicate human actions.
Why Do We Need Robotics in Real World?
We have a very simple answer to this question and that is, to make things easier for humans and reduce human efforts with precise accuracy.
Imagine if you were given a task to tighten one screw on a toaster. And you have to do this repeatedly on toaster after toaster, everyday, for weeks, months, or years. Will you be able to keep at it without any tiredness or monotony? This kind of job is better suited for robots than for humans. Most robots of recent times are used to do repetitive actions or jobs considered too dangerous for humans.
One of the main reasons robots are preferred would be that robots are cheaper to use over humans, it’s easier for robots to do some jobs and sometimes the only possible way to accomplish some tasks. Robots can explore and investigate inside volcanoes, travel through the surface of Mars, or other places that are too dangerous for humans to go like in extreme temperatures or contaminated environments.
And though no field as of right now is left untouched by robotics, we are going to specifically talk about the medical field and the impact robotics has in this field.
Impact of Robots in Medical Field
What would you do if you are asked to trust your life to a robotic surgeon? How about the treatment of mental health issues? Though some of you may be uncomfortable with the idea of a robot performing surgery or comforting them in their times of stress, it is becoming increasingly popular in the field of healthcare, to see these medical robots working within the field of biomedical engineering.
And everyone must be quite aware of the robots used during the pandemic times in various parts of the world, by either spreading awareness about the virus or by supplying medicines for treating Covid-19 patients.
For instance, the Sassarese hospital in Sardinia, Italy, tightened its safety measures and also brought in the robots after six of its doctors got Covid infected.
Another case was seen at a medical center in Kigali, Rwanda where a squad of robots served as the first line of defense against person-to-person transmission. Patients walking into the facility got their temperature checked by these machines, equipped with thermal cameras atop their heads.
Those being some of the pandemic-related cases, robotics has become an integral and revolutionary part of this industry long before all this happened with its accurate analysis and regular monitoring of patient’s health.
So, to better understand the role of robotics in the medical field we are going to talk about the most commonly used robots in the healthcare industry.
Types of Robots Used in the Medical Field
daVinci: daVinci machine blurs the line between robot and medical tool since the device is always under the full control of the surgeon.
Using this system, some types of operations can be easily done with a few and tiny incisions done with the utmost precision, which means less bleeding, faster healing, and a reduced risk of infection.
Actuated and Sensory Prostheses: MIT Biomechatronics lab researchers have developed gyroscopically actuated robotic limbs that are capable of tracking their position in three-dimensional space.
They have also developed bionic skins and neural implant systems that interface with the user’s nervous system, allowing the user to receive tactile feedback from the prosthetic and volitionally control it as one would for a normal limb.
Endoscopy-Bot: Endoscopy is a process of inserting a long thin wire fitted with a small camera inside a body through a natural opening to search for damage or traces of a disease.
To make this procedure simple and precise, the Robotics company, Medineering has developed slender and flexible robots that can be driven like an RC car to the exact spot the doctor needs.
Companion Bots: Robots are not always needed for only surgeries or operations. Patients also require regular check-ups from caretakers, which can be an issue in areas where there are shortages of professional caretakers. Companion robots solve this problem by acting as caretakers and making life better for a lot of people.
BUDDY is one of the latest launched companion robots that even interact with its owners on an ever-changing emotional level and had won 2018 Best of Innovation Award for its advancements.