Robotic systems have been around for a long time, but the developments in recent years are incredible. We’ve even reached a stage where robots are creating impressive art.
As much as robots can be interesting or entertaining, the main purpose of robotics is to make the lives of humans better. They can take on dangerous jobs to prevent injuries and deaths in some industries. In some cases, they are more efficient and can work faster.
What kinds of work are robots doing for humans? Let’s look at some of the ways robots can make our lives easier or better.
Assisting With Surgery
Robots can do a lot to make surgery better and open up more possibilities with surgery. Current robotic surgery systems assist surgeons rather than perform procedures autonomously. One example is the Da Vinci Surgical System, which has already been around for over 20 years. These types of robotic systems allow for increased precision, can work through smaller incisions and reduce risks. Some of these systems also allow for remote surgery. These tools allow surgeons to perform procedures from remote locations, making various surgical procedures more accessible.
The Factory Floor
Factories are some of the most common settings for robots. It is also one of the oldest applications of robotics. The first robotic arms were deployed in automotive factories over sixty years ago. Robots can offer several advantages in production facilities. One of the primary benefits for company owners is that they can save on labor costs. However, they are also beneficial to workers. Robots can take on jobs that are hazardous to humans. For example, if a job involves working with dangerous substances, a robot can do the work and reduce the risk of injury.
On the other end from industry, robots can also work in agricultural settings. Traditional agricultural work is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Even with many of the modern agricultural machines, there is still a lot of human labor involved. Agricultural robots can take some of this manual labor out of the process and make work easier for humans. They can do jobs like till fields and spray pesticides. Some robotic systems can even harvest certain types of crops.
Robots at Sea
There are many reasons why humans may need to work at sea. From offshore oil drilling to research, there are many jobs on the world’s oceans. However, much of this work is time-intensive and dangerous. However, ocean robotics technology is starting to change this. For example, instead of having to send a human diver under the water to inspect or work on something, you could use a robotic submarine or other ocean robots. With these robotic tools, businesses can save money and reduce risks. Robots can also open possibilities that might not be available with humans.
Assisting Physical Therapy
Surgery isn’t the only way robotics can make healthcare better. Robotic systems also have great potential to assist with physical therapy. For example, robot-assisted therapy can be helpful for patients who may need to relearn how to walk. In that case, a robotic exoskeleton can support the patient’s weight and help them work on their gait. It can allow the patient to work longer without getting tired. Along with that, it can take some of the physical strain off the human physical therapist administering the therapy.
Robot Inspectors and Investigators
What happens if there is a toxic spill or radiation in an area that needs inspection? It might not be safe for humans, but there could be valuable information to learn from inspecting or investigating. In that case, robotic systems could be deployed to investigate and gather information. The information could be used to prevent additional damage or remediate existing damage. The previously mentioned oceanic robots could be one solution. UAVs could also be used in a similar way. Spot from Boston Dynamics is also working in similar capacities.
Cleaning is another common application for robots. Most people know at least one person with a robotic vacuum cleaner if they don’t already have one in their own home. However, the robotic vacuum cleaner is just the beginning. Many stores and hospitals now use robotic floor scrubbers. There are also robots being designed to clean up litter. Similarly, there are marine robots in development to collect plastic from oceans and other bodies of water.
Having things delivered to our homes is more common than ever. From online shopping orders to food, some of these items will be delivered by robots before long. Retail giants are already experimenting with drones to handle some deliveries. There are also reports of food delivery services developing autonomous vehicles to deliver orders. In many cases, it can mean faster deliveries and improved efficiency. It might also allow for delivery of certain items 24 hours a day.
These are just some of the ways robots can serve humans and make our lives better. However, the robotics revolution is still in its infancy. As the intelligence behind these machines improves, we can expect them to do much more.