The robot market is currently worth billions, and soon enough will be tens if not hundreds of billions. The sector is beginning to transform our world’s economies. Particularly in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, robots have helped businesses adopt automation across a multitude of industries.
Here, we discuss some of the robots that are currently transforming our world:
But first, what exactly is a robot?
In its simplest terms, a robot is essentially a machine that is able to physically interact with the world around it to carry out mundane tasks or even complex operations. Over the past few years, rapid prototyping, open-source developments and lower component costs have sped up advancements in the field.
These are one of the newer generations of robots, many of which have at least one articulated arm, and learn by watching humans complete tasks.
Their torque sensors allow these robots to avoid collisions, meaning they are increasingly being used in manufacturing and warehouses. It’s actually looking plausible that collaborative robots could replace industrial workers entirely in the future.
Robotic surgery is currently being dominated by the da Vinci Surgical System, which allows thousands of surgeries to be completed each year using robotics, and this is only expected to increase.
These surgeries are more precise and less invasive. We’re also seeing the rise of personal assistant robots in healthcare, which is likely to reduce operational costs as well as reducing the risk of human mistakes.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)
Automated Guided vehicles are having a tremendous impact on e-commerce warehousing, being able to navigate spaces that are less open than roads, such as large warehouse depots and factories. They could also be a game-changer for any sector that could pose danger to humans, such as toxic substance or materials handling.
While these robots originated as a novelty, they are now looking to be used more broadly, particularly with many workers now having to work from home. You’d be surprised how adequate of an alternative a telepresence robot offers to be being physically in the office, and these could alleviate the need for video conference applications.
It’s no secret that the robotics sector is growing and affecting many businesses and soon enough it could also benefit the lonely and elderly…
How social companionship robots will help with loneliness
It wasn’t too long ago that the idea of having a robot helper in your home was just something confined to science-fiction, but with the rapid development in AI, owning a humanoid robot is something that could soon be within reach of many people.
One aspect of robot/human interaction that is coming to the fore in recent times is a robot’s ability to provide companionship to the elderly and the lonely.
Social isolation and loneliness
With social isolation and loneliness becoming more prevalent in modern society, there is a real danger that the mental health of millions of people, both young and old, could be adversely affected.
Now, with an ageing global population, it is more important than ever to find a solution to the genuine problems associated with loneliness, especially with COVID-19 now forcing more people than ever to stay at home.
Social companionship robots
Thankfully, help could soon be on hand, with the introduction of social companionship robots. Created in a variety of different shapes and sizes, even including humanoid robots for a much more realistic interaction.
A firm belief by researchers in robotics assumes these types of robots could bring major benefits in the fight to reduce loneliness, as well as increasing independence in older patients. In Japan, the government has even given its support to the introduction of robots in care homes, as well as some care home trials in the UK, showing positive results.
What would social robots offer?
Humanoid robots are already able to complete simple recurrent tasks such as moving independently or picking items up, as well as being able to use hand gestures as an interaction.
It is expected that shortly, these robots, thanks to AI and machine learning, will be able to engage in conversation with humans, as well as being able to detect a person’s mood.
This could be invaluable as a tool for fighting depression caused by isolation and loneliness and could see a drop in hospital admissions and suicide attempts.
Humanoid robots are going to be around much more in the future, so we better get used to it. Although when it comes to an individuals loneliness, human to human interaction is still without a doubt, the best way to go.
However, there will be a time when social companionship robots become popular. With many people still unsure about their underlying technologies, for example, AI, we will need to see a lot more research into their long-term effects.