Human life is at stake, and robotics is the only way to fight future outbreaks

Human life is at stake, and robotics is the only way to fight future outbreaks
The Siliconreview
27 March, 2020

With such viruses attacking the world, the future of human life is at stake, and the only way to resist uncertainties it to further develop advanced technology in the field of healthcare and pharmaceutics. With the same thought in mind, AI and robotics experts in Edinburgh are working hard to develop what they really hope will be the first healthcare robots to hold a conversation with more than one person at a time. It is a project designed to help elderly people, but it could one day be used to help handle virus outbreaks like the coronavirus.

"It's not something we had actually considered while designing the project," says Heriot-Watt's professor of computer science Oliver Lemon. "But as it turns out it is quite relevant to what's going on today.”

"You can imagine in the future that when you walk into a hospital waiting room, instead of encountering a human you encounter a robot who's able to help you.” That kind of hands-free, touch-free speech interface is really going to be in more demand."

This amazing project is funded by the EU's Horizon 2020, is called Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare (SPRING). The robots currently are already working in many healthcare institutions but their functionality is very limited and restricted. You can also have a chat with a digital helper like Alexa or Siri, but conversations are typically simple and short. But SPRING will develop new robots which can deal with multiple people in social situations.