Use of Robotics in Health Care Sector

We are all familiar with the ‘ROBOTS’. So, the question is that, “WHAT IS A ROBOT? ” The answer lies here: A robot is a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or remotely controlled and range from humanoids such as ASIMO and TOPIO to Nano robots, ‘swarm’ robots, and industrial robots. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own. Robots are said to be the future of mankind.

WHAT IS THE USE OF ROBOTS IN HEALTH CARE SECTOR? Scientists say that, by 2050 one in four people in the world will be over the age of 65. The NHS will be unable to cope with the likely increase in chronic illness. To meet this challenge, health and local authority services must reconfigure, placing greater emphasis on community care and the effective use of technology. One promising technology is robotics. WHAT IS ROBOTICS? Robotics is the engineering science and technology of robots, their design, manufacture, application, and structural disposition. Robotics is related to electronics, mechanics, and software.

Robots possess some form of mobility. They are: 1) Programmability: Programmability is implying computational or symbol-manipulative capabilities that a designer can combine as desired. It can be programmed to accomplish a large variety of tasks. After being programmed, it operates automatically. 2) Sensors: Sensors are on or around the device that is able to sense the environment and give useful feedback to the device. 3) Mechanical capability: Mechanical capability enables it to act on its environment rather than merely function as a data processing or computational device.

Artificial intelligence is a remarkable characteristic of robots. Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. 4) Flexibility: Robots can operate using a range of programs and manipulates and transport materials in a variety of ways. The term ‘ROBOTICS’ was coined by Isaac Asimov in his 1941 science fiction short-story “Liar! ” Later he stated the three laws of robotics. They were: First Law: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. WHY ROBOTICS? Compared with humans, robots are quicker to train, cheaper to maintain, easier to refuel and repair and less prone to be bored by repetitive tasks. They could help the elderly and chronically ill to remain independent, reducing the need for careers and the demand for care homes.

Robots could help in the care of the elderly and chronically ill in four main ways: 1) Addressing cognitive decline; for example, reminding patients to drink, take medicine or of an appointment. 2) Enabling patients and caregivers to interact, thereby reduce the frequency of personal visits. 3) Collecting data and monitoring patients and emergencies, such as heart failure and high blood sugar levels, could be avoided. 4) Assisting people with domestic tasks. Medical Robotics is an emerging sub-discipline of robotics in which humans are the focal point of its creation.

Humans interact with medical robotics either as health providers such as physicians or as the health care recipients – the patients. Introducing a medical robot at the interface between a physician and a patient is based on an understanding of the medical treatment itself and its related biology, physiology and anatomy. Inherent to the field of medical robotics is a unique synergy between medicine, life and health sciences, and many sub-disciplines of engineering. The use of Robotics in Health care has been tried from more than two decades, but has still not been used to its maximum potential.

Currently in health care, robots are mainly used for surgical purposes. Various surgical procedures like hip replacement are being implemented using these robots. Robots could be used to perform minimal invasive surgery, remote surgery, and unmanned surgery. The use of Robotics in Health care has the following advantages: 1) Accuracy – Robots once instructed can perform a task without fatigue and with accuracy, even after long hours of operation. A robot would also eliminate hand-tremors of the surgeon, due to fatigue or other reasons and increase accuracy of the operation.

2) Smaller Scars – Robots perform surgery by making smaller cuts to the patient’s body, thus leaving smaller scars to the patients. 3) Less Blood Loss – Smaller incisions lead to lesser amount of blood loss for the patients. 4) Less Pain – Patients suffer lesser pain due to the smaller cuts made by the robots. 5) Faster Recovery – Smaller external cuts, eventually leads to faster healing, decreased possibility of infections, and therefore a faster recovery for the patients. 6) Shorter Hospital Stay – Speedier healing and recovery leads to a shorter stay in the hospital thus saving costs.

The value of robotics for health care could be huge in terms of health, societal and economic benefits. Robotics offers the promise of sustainable and affordable health provision without compromising quality of care. Some robots have already been tested, but this is just the beginning. In relation to robotics, questions such as which robotic applications will be valued additions to health care, which products can meet market needs and which technologies are needed to accomplish them. Some technologies are available, while some need a lot of research and development before they can be applied to the production of a robotic system.

Smart medical capsules robotized surgery intelligent prosthetics robotized motor coordination analysis and therapy Robot-assisted mental, cognitive and social therapy robotized patient monitoring systems. A means of ‘journeying’ through the body in a way causes less discomfort than traditional endoscopy where invasive probes are used. The smart capsule endoscope is a ‘pill’ that is swallowed and then makes pictures of internal systems such as the intestines, while travelling through the body. Robotizing the capsules boosts greatly their diagnostic and therapeutic effectiveness and signifies a radical change in medicine.

A robot will be able to move it, or be externally steered, to have a closer look at internal tissues, take samples or even destroy unwanted tissues. Robotized surgery will facilitate new types of intervention, e. g. , in areas of the human body that are difficult to access. Precision, durability and repeatability enable automation of surgical tasks and facilitate minimally invasive surgery, remote tele-surgery, preoperative planning, surgical training, intra-operative navigation and surgical simulation all from one place. Robotics will be the science that will one day help to create which we call, “A world without weaknesses. ”

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