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How soon will we be seeing robots walking about the street? How soon will robots join medical staff in hospitals and aid real people in life or death situations? How soon will robots replace health staff? The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that we will see a global shortfall of 12 million health workers by 2025.
From lifting patients and delivering lab samples, to cleaning and providing companionship, care robots can help with a range of tasks across a hospital or care setting. With nurses spending up to a third of their shift on menial tasks such as collecting equipment, the expectation is that care robots will be able to take ownership of these more mundane jobs, letting health staff focus on more important tasks.
By helping to ease the strain on healthcare workers, care robots can also help to tackle the growing problem of worker shortages. This is a more prevalent issue in some countries than in others, such as Japan where almost a third of the population is over the age of 65. According to newelectronics.co.uk, the country predicts that it will have a shortage of almost one million workers in the healthcare sector by 2040, so it comes as no surprise that Japan is leading the manufacturing and implementation of care robots.
Japan isn’t the only country investing in care robots. Over in the US, several hospitals have successfully implemented Moxi, a one-armed humanoid robot. After an initial tour, Moxi can create an internal map of the care facility, which it can use to travel between departments, and onboard sensors help it to avoid collisions with people or objects. Its robotic arm enables it to open doors alone, and its secure storage compartment means Moxi can safely collect medicines and deliver them around the hospital.
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