Medical Service Robots Become Popular due to Contribution to Epidemic Prevention and Control

Source:    |      Date:2020-08-21


  Foreign media reported that due to the spread of COVID-19, medical institutions and public facilities are accelerating the introduction of robots. Assigning robots to perform disinfection operations can not only mitigate the shortage of workforce, but also help reduce the risk of infection. Robot producers can meet new demands emerging with the spread of COVID-19 by improving and effectively using existing products.

  A July 15 report by Sankei Shimbun indicated that, an Omron’s robot, equipped with an ultraviolet radiation device with sterilization and disinfection functions, could walk automatically in the hospital. The robot uses the laser scanner installed in the front and rear to avoid obstacles and keeps perform disinfection operations.

  Omron originally sold this robot mainly to factories for handling goods. Since April, Omron has worked with medical device manufacturers out of China to develop the disinfection function. This robot has been introduced to more than ten countries including Poland, France and Canada. Omron explained: "To prevent cross-infection, medical institutions have a high demand for disinfection robots. "

  According to the report, to increase the uses of the robot, Omron has cooperated with about 20 enterprises in and out of China. The robot jointly developed by Omron and SK Telecom has the following functions: reminding passersby who are not wearing masks to wear masks, distributing disposable disinfectant, and measuring body temperature.

  Panasonic has also improved the robot independently developed by it that handle medicines and samples in hospitals. The robot, after being improved, can spray antimicrobial agents while walking automatically, and Panasonic will promote the deployment of it in hospitals and other facilities. The robot developed by Cyberdyne was put in operation in March to disinfect the sofas and armrests while walking autonomously at Haneda Airport.

  According to reports, during the spread of COVID-19, in addition to disinfection, many facilities are actively introducing robots to carry out other operations to reduce interpersonal contact. Omron will deliver a batch of robots by July, which will be used to introduce transfer routes and nearby tourist attractions at Keio Electric Railway's Shimokitazawa Station and Kinki Nippon Railway's Yamato Saidaiji Station. RoboHoN, a small-sized Sharp robot, can check in for guests at hotels in Tokyo from June.

  According to statistics from Fuji Keizai, the value of the global market for industrial and service robots will increase from JPY 1.98 trillion (approximately USD 18.5 billion) in 2019 to JPY 4.66 trillion in 2025. The survey result did not take into account the impact of COVID-19. Fuji Keizai believes that the demand of the service industry for robots will further increase from the perspective of infection prevention.