Improvising Healthcare with the help of Robotics Technology

Improvising Healthcare with the help of Robotics Technology
Improvising Healthcare with the help of Robotics Technology

History of Robotics

In the 1980s, mechanical robots were used experimentally in surgical settings, but the technology did not mature until the 1990s.

Beginning in 1985 with the Puma 560, mechanical robots have proven useful for positioning cannulas precisely for brain biopsies. Following this, camera-guided robotic surgical systems such as Neuro-Mate, Minerva, and the Robot-Assisted Microsurgery System were introduced into brain surgery environments. Miniature mechanical robotic appendages engineered with precision have proven useful in surgical settings requiring highly precise placement for patient safety and operational efficacy.

Surgical robots that are passively controlled via remote by a surgeon. Active robots differ from passive robots in that they can perform surgery without being directly controlled by a remote surgical operator using programming and visual data. This capability is present in more advanced surgical robots, such as the Da Vinci surgical system, which is widely regarded as the most advanced general-purpose robotic surgical system currently in use.

How are robots contributing to the growth of the healthcare industry?

There are robots everywhere, from science fiction to hospitals, where they are revolutionizing healthcare. These robots resemble Star Wars' R2-D2 more than humanoids, but they have a significant impact on the medical field. As well as making medical procedures safer and less costly for patients, robots in medicine relieve medical personnel of routine tasks that divert their attention from more urgent responsibilities. In addition, they can perform delicate surgery in confined spaces and transport hazardous materials.

Provision of Robots in Healthcare

Each day, the use of automation and robotics in healthcare and related fields increases. The International Federation of Robots (IFR) forecasts that the demand for medical robots will increase. In addition to assisting healthcare professionals and medical staff with complex and precise tasks, robots also reduce their workload, thereby enhancing the overall efficacy of healthcare facilities.

A medical automaton's kinematics and dynamics are application-specific. Robots, both serial and parallel, are used for a wide range of tasks, including surgery, rehabilitation, and service robots. FlexPicker (ABB, Zurich, Switzerland), also known as the "Delta" robot, is an example of a Parallel Kinematic Manipulator (PKM) that was originally designed for medical applications but is now widely utilized in the food manufacturing sector. The majority of hospital service robots are mobile robot variants with a high payload capacity but restricted degrees of freedom (DOF). Surgical robots with multiple degrees of freedom, on the other hand, are adaptable, precise, and reliable systems that perform similarly to a well-trained human surgeon, with an error margin that is typically less than a millimeter.

Surgical Application of Robotics Technology in Healthcare

The first COVID-positive individual identified in the United States was isolated in a room created during the Ebola outbreak. A robot equipped with a camera, a microphone, and a stethoscope enabled patient consultations without physical contact between the patient and the doctor. Even though the patient did not undergo surgery, modern technology may permit surgeons to perform procedures remotely without entering the patient's room. In addition to separating the surgeon from the patient, modern robotic systems require fewer personnel in the operating room than traditional open surgery, thereby reducing the number of personnel exposed to infectious aerosols and, consequently, the risk of contamination. In light of the current pandemic, it is necessary to consider fully contactless surgical suites.

The Future of Healthcare Robotics

As the range of tasks performed by collaborative and mobile robots expands, the adoption of robots across the entire healthcare spectrum is anticipated to increase. In the short to medium term, the number of robots performing tasks that do not require significant interaction with physicians, nurses, and patients, such as retrieving and administering materials and medications, is expected to increase. As software algorithm improvements occur over the long term, robot-human interaction will increase.

The demand for robots that assist in healthcare is still in its infancy, but it shows promise. These robots can provide information, answer simple questions, and in some cases connect the user with a professional therapist via video link, allowing doctors, nurses, and patients to communicate remotely. Mobile bases equipped with computer screens, for instance, can accommodate nurses or navigate independently to a patient's bed in order to connect the patient with a doctor in another location. This not only enables significantly more effective specialist consultations due to the doctor's ability to see and interact with the patient, as opposed to relying on patient records but also permits medical interaction with potentially infectious patients.

The Role of Robotic Technology in the Surgical Environment

Surgical care is the cornerstone of any healthcare system, including both elective and emergency procedures that contribute to the health services of the population. Due to the urgency of management, the participation of multiple teams, and the high-risk nature of the activities, operating rooms can be high-risk transmission zones. Several surgical societies have issued safety guidelines for procedures in light of the significant risk to practitioners during COVID-19. Surgical patients can be exposed to fewer pathogens if robots are incorporated at multiple points during their hospital stay. This workflow can be divided into pre-operative care, anesthesia, surgical procedure, and post-operative care, with the goal of robotic integration being to minimize patient and healthcare-provider interaction at each stage.


The ongoing virus outbreak illustrates how dependent our activities are on physical contact with a living person. During COVID-19, this requirement poses a significant obstacle in surgical environments. To prevent the spread of pathogens, elective surgeries are suspended, which has severe physical, mental, and financial consequences for patients and hospitals. AI and robotic innovation can be utilized to address this difficulty. These technologies can be used for a variety of tasks outside the operating room, including digitized patient admission, effective triaging during peak times, vital sign acquisition and monitoring, classification of high-risk nodes, sterilization with real-time contamination feedback, blood drawing, and drug and food delivery. Robots can locate intravascular lines, intubate patients, and manage the airway in the operating room.

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