How Covid Is Redefining the Relationship Between Humans and Robots

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Robots have come a long way. From simple instruction following machines to the sophisticated more dexterous, mobile, and autonomous human replica. Robots have become more efficient, more collaborative, and of course smarter. Today, as per the International Federation of Robotics there are over 3 million robots working in factories all around the world. From simple tasks like mopping floors, mowing lawns, transporting goods around in a warehouse to more complex activities like helping surgeons in medical operations or delivering parcels both on land and by air – the journey is phenomenal.

“People normally say they want a human element in their relationships, but COVID-19 has changed that,” says futurist Martin Ford, who has written about how robots will be integrated into the economy in the next decades.

The scale and pace of innovation in robotics will accelerate further in the coming years. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has two reasons for this. Both the reasons have COVID connections.

  1. COVID is creating unprecedented changes that will continue and have a great impact on human lives. 
  2. Because “The Great Resignation” phenomenon all across the world have created a lot of new opportunities for “working from home”. And it is here that the greatest impact on the human-robot interaction is felt.

Let’s focus the impact specifically on two sectors: E-commerce and Healthcare.

Robots in E-commerce:

E-commerce and COVID-19-related demands for contactless delivery have generated industry interest in robotics and autonomous vehicles to make the procedure more efficient. For instance, UPS and Waymo, are testing an autonomous delivery van in Arizona.

Agility Robotics have developed Digit, a two-legged robot that not only looks like a human but also walks like one. Digit can move up and down, walk naturally on uneven terrain. It can even react to situations like being bumped without losing its balance and falling down. 

And, corporations like Amazon and FedEx are experimenting with drones and self-driving delivery robots.

One of the great examples is in Northern California, where food delivery robots have already begun to deliver consumer meal orders. Small service robots now arrive at eateries, load up on food, and deliver it to hungry customers.

Robots in Healthcare:

While we tend to associate the term “robotics” with anthropomorphized mechanical entities, this is not always the case.

In the healthcare profession, robots can take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and functions.

A robot programmed to sterilize a room using UV light once a patient has been checked out before nurses or other workers arrive to reset the room is one example.

Robotic assistants, for example, can check patients’ vitals while nurses attend to other patients, alerting when a human presence in the room is required. This helps to avoid a potential disaster if something bad happens to a patient during rounds while nurses are trying to care for everyone.

Robots Can Change Our Future

The continuing advancement of technologies that can assist in healthcare facilities will influence. Whether or not we see more robots being used in healthcare. Robotic adoption continues to rise across a wide range of businesses, some of which we never see from the outside.

Neha Verma
Neha Verma is a content writer who has 5+ years of experience in writing content in different domains and industries. She has been working with B2B & B2C industries and has created content for presentations, training, worked on web content, and copy content. She specializes in blogging, email marketing, and digital marketing content. Currently, she lives in India.

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