Robotics Service robots in healthcare

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

The healthcare industry is a potential industry for the growth of non-surgical medical robots as well as service robots that specialise in monitoring and therapeutic roles. Companies such as ABB are already investing in the next generation of automation technologies in laboratory processes which have the ability to speed up the process.

The Japan-based baby seal robot called ‘Paro’ can be used to help people suffering from dementia to calm down and give them company.
The Japan-based baby seal robot called ‘Paro’ can be used to help people suffering from dementia to calm down and give them company.
(Source: Paro Robots )

The global service robotics market is valued at 11.48 billion dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach 50.90 billion dollars by 2024, at a CAGR of 25.34 % over the forecast period of 2019, states a report by market analyst firm, Report Buyer. The report further segregates service robots into professional service robots; including robots used for medical assistance, defense and security, and UAV drones; and personal service robots for domestic, research, and entertainment applications.

Need for service robots in healthcare

There is always a strong demand for healthcare professionals owing to the growing population across the globe. However, today professionals are required to undertake more challenging tasks rather than perform repetitive tasks. For this, the healthcare industry is looking to adopt service robots that can carry out these mundane tasks with ease.

ABB eyes development of non-surgical medical robots

According to an ABB report, the market for non-surgical medical robots is estimated to reach nearly 60,000 by 2025 with the market almost quadrupling vs. 2018. Keeping in mind this huge business opportunity, the Switzerland-based company has recently inaugurated its first dedicated global health care research hub Texas Medical Center (TMC) innovation campus in Houston, Texas, USA.

With this move, the firm aims at developing the next-generation of laboratory processes in order to speed up manual medical processes, thus reducing and eliminating bottlenecks in laboratory work and enhancing safety and consistency. This will also prove beneficial for high-tech treatments that require manual and time-consuming test processes today. As a result, more tests can be done in a short period of time.

Service robotics in monitoring and therapeutic roles

In a paper titled ‘Service Robotics in Healthcare: A Perspective for Information Systems Researchers?’ it adds that the use of service robotics in monitoring and therapeutic roles towards patients is believed to be a growing area. For instance, there are a number of robots that help the elderly suffering from Alzheimers such as Silbot3, a service robot made in South Korea to assist elders.

In addition to this, the Japan-based baby seal robot called ‘Paro’ can be used to help people suffering from dementia to calm down and give them company. Apart from this, the Mario assistive robot is capable of communicating with dementia patients and can talk to them, play music and provide them with daily news. The paper further states that the use of service robots in inventory has in some cases (e.g. infusion pumps) cut the need for inventory in half.

All in all, the development of service robots in the healthcare industry is a win-win situation for everyone.

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