A group of leaders in the field of robotics say that robots can be effective tools in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Robots can be used for clinical care where human interactions are dangerous. Activities like delivery, disposing of contaminated waste, delivery of food, and medicine, etc can be performed through the use of robots. "Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls," the researchers said. A professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego, Henrik Christensen, talks about the role that the robots can play in disinfection and cleaning.
"For disease prevention, robot-controlled noncontact ultraviolet (UV) surface disinfection has already been used because COVID-19 spreads not only from person to person via close contact respiratory droplet transfer but also via contaminated surfaces," the researchers reported.
"Opportunities lie in intelligent navigation and detection of high-risk, high-touch areas, combined with other preventative measures," the researchers add. "New generations of large, small, micro-, and swarm robots that are able to continuously work and clean (i.e., not only removing dust but also truly sanitizing/sterilizing all surfaces) could be developed. Overall, the impact of COVID-19 may drive sustained research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases," researchers go on. "Without a sustainable approach to research and evaluation, history will repeat itself, and technology robots will not be ready to assist for the next incident."