With the world’s population rapidly aging, the healthcare sector is facing significant challenges such as rising costs and staffing shortages. To keep up with the demand, artificial intelligence will have to play a major role. One research facility is testing a robot that can help supplement human workers by performing a wide variety of repetitive and time-intensive tasks.
Meet Yumi the robotic lab technician/nurse. She comes from Swiss company ABB and is currently being tested at the company’s healthcare research hub, housed at Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute in Houston. The robot is built to work alongside humans performing tasks such as preparing medicines, loading and unloading centrifuges, pipetting and handling liquids and sorting and transporting test tubes.
Robot Nurse Yumi Can Be Programmed For Wide Variety of Tasks
Yumi’s robotic arms have a precise touch and a long range of motion which makes it adaptable to most tasks. Machine vision allows the robot nurse to navigate the hospital avoiding other workers and obstacles. She can even be programmed for more mundane things such as delivering food, medications, and linens.
An analysis conducted by ABB shows that repetitive tasks could be completed up to 50 percent faster with automation compared to current manual processes, with the added benefit that robots can work 24 hours a day.
60,000 Medical Robots Possible in Next 5 Years
ABB estimates there will be some 60,000 medical robots working in various roles within the next 5 years. Artificial intelligence will be key in helping keep costs down and fighting staffing shortages.
“The health care sector is undergoing a significant transformation as the diagnosis and treatment of disease advances, while coping with an aging population, increasing costs and a growing worldwide shortage of medical staff,” Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s robotics and discrete automation business, said in a press release.