It’s no secret that technology is advancing at a rapid pace. This is especially true in the healthcare industry. Operations, treatments, and discoveries that were once deemed to be impossible by medical science have come every-day realities. Although exciting, these advancements leave many people wondering what’s to come.
Some of the most promising and exciting technologies of all lays in the field of robotics. This article will explore the latest technological advancements in healthcare robotics, as well as take a peek into what is to come in the near future.
Current Robotic Applications in Healthcare
More precise surgeries:
Although current technologies demand that a surgeon remain in control of the robot throughout the surgery, robotics are now being used to help surgeons perform more precise surgical procedures. Robotic tools, such as daVinci, provide surgeons with more flexibility and the ability to hit precise surgical targets, even when the incisions themselves are incredibly small.
Once just a cinematic special effect, exoskeletons have now become a reality. Today, these devices are assisting individuals with paralysis and the elderly to reclaim their mobility. The use of exoskeletons ranges from assisting a nurse to move a patient, to enhancing the daily lives of individuals, to assisting in rehabilitation processes. In the future, we can expect to see this type of technology become more affordable and commonplace within day-to-day healthcare services.
Research and development:
Due the the dangers surrounding a range of healthcare research and developing and clinical trial practices, humans cannot be used as test subjects. However, in many cases, a robot is the perfect supplement. One example is a robot called Petman, which is used in the testing of clothing designed for chemical protection. In this regard, robots not only provide a safer alternative to human testing, but is also significantly less costly.
Overcoming Limitations in Healthcare Robotics
When it comes to artificial intelligence, our current technologies are still rather limited, despite modern technological advances. One of the newest advances to artificial intelligence is in the field of machine learning. Machine learning involves teaching a computer how to understand information as opposed to merely programming them to perform tasks. Today’s artificial intelligences are limited, because they are only able to process the information that is being fed to them.
However, science is already working to overcome these limitations. For example, Apache Kafka is a solution which enables machine learning to take place in real time. Solutions like these are necessary, as there are huge databases of knowledge that exist which robots need to process in order to become more advanced. Solutions like these have a wide range of industrial applications, including the healthcare sector.
The Future of Healthcare Robotics
Nurses work tirelessly in their jobs as it is, and the nursing shortage problem is escalating rapidly all around the world. In the future, robots will be used to help lighten this load, as they can be trained to perform repetitive tasks. In doing so, human nursing staff will be left free to handle tasks which require a human touch.
Robots will also be commonly used to assist doctors and healthcare professionals with a range of tasks. This includes:
- Diagnosing diseases
- Suggesting treatment options
- Complex surgical procedures (e.g. eye surgery)
- Nanobots will provide healthcare at the cellular level.
As most healthcare professionals will agree, health care is always about the patient and what is best for them. The development of robotics in the healthcare sector isn’t just about making the jobs of doctors and nurses easier, but at the core, it is about making health care better for the patient.
The use of robotics in health care will ensure that procedures are safer and more reliable, treatments are more effective, diagnoses are more accurate, and diseases that are currently labeled as incurable may likely become a thing of the past.