For a while now the use of robots in various industries has been an emerging trend with the healthcare industry being no different. From systems that check people into hospitals and doctors’ surgeries automatically, to programmed Disinfection Robots that can clean entire hospitals there have been many advancements within the last couple of years. Below are three of the more innovative uses of robotics within the healthcare industry.
Surgical Assistant robots
There are a lot of examples of cutting-edge robotic technology within the healthcare sector, many of them being within the field of surgery. There are many advantages to use robots as surgical assistants, the main one being accuracy. An example of a surgical assistant robot is the da Vinci Surgical System that gained its FDA approval in 2000. This system allows surgeons to have more control over procedures, making them more accurate with surgeries that require small, precise incisions. All robots that are currently used within the operating room are only there to assist surgeons, not replace them.
Another area that has seen significant advancements in the last couple of years when it comes to utilising robotics is rehabilitation medicine, the main examples being exoskeletons. As a technology you are most likely to have seen in a superhero movie, exoskeletons can make people stronger and help people to move parts of their body that may be paralysed. A recent example of this was last year when a 30-year-old French man managed to move all four of his limbs using a mind-controlled exoskeleton suit. This technology is still being developed and refined but continues to make great progress.
Each year, millions of patients fall ill due to hospital acquired infections, with thousands of patients eventually dying because of these illnesses. One company, UVD Robots are revolutionising hygiene standards in the healthcare sector to prevent hospital acquired infections. This is particularly timely with the rise in infections with superbugs such as MRSA and the Coronavirus. Technology such as this will allow healthcare environments to become safer as well as improving the quality of care available in hospitals around the world.
Although not here yet, the era of nanotechnology is certainly not too far off. With the introduction of digestables and digital pills, we are inching closer to nanorobots. One recent example comes from researchers at the Max Planck Institute who has been trialling robots that can be used to specifically deliver drugs to certain parts of your body. These micro-sized bots have been designed to swim through your bloodstream or your lymphatic system to safely deliver forms of medical relief.
The potential for robotic applications within the healthcare industry are vast and the possibilities are endless, however robots are still not a replacement for human interactions due to the complex and uncertain environment of the healthcare industry.