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Debunking the Hollywood stereotype of robots as evil androids who plan on taking over the world, robots were created to assist humans in performing and accomplishing tasks more efficiently. Since the first creation of modern robots in 1950, these artificially intelligent bots have contributed greatly to society in different fields year after year.
From conducting missions in space to delivering hot pizzas to your doorstep, here are some tasks that robots have been helping humans with.
Brought about by the recent COVID-19 global health pandemic, standards for cleaning and sanitization have been redefined and heightened. Combined with an influx of demand and a pressing need for capable machines to clean and sanitize high-risk areas and hazardous waste, robots have been built solely for these tasks.
LightStrike robots from Xenex have been roaming hospitals in Searcy to prevent any hospital-acquired infection among patients, visitors, and employees. The same robots have also been keeping jail cells and hallways clean, which lead to zero COVID-19 cases of inmates leaving and entering said cells.
These robots use a UV light system to kill any virus and bacteria within its wavelength.
The ADIBOT-A robots from UBTECH have also been disinfecting places such as schools, hospitals, offices, gyms, and even subway cars. Similar to LightStrike robots, ADIBOT-A robots also use a UV light system to kill viruses and bacteria, but they also have LiDAR sensors, and cameras to help them zap microbes on-site.
On a smaller scale of things, but still just as useful, robot vacuums also help humans clean and disinfect areas at home. They may not be as grand or advanced as the aforementioned robots, but these semi-autonomous bots are more than effective in keeping a home clean 24/7 without much effort needed on your part.
Steadily growing in popularity are robot pets for companionship, especially for seniors and patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases. While there are many benefits that a robot pet can give, companionship is perhaps the one that would top the list.
Although they cannot entirely replace their living counterparts, robot pets are the low-maintenance choice for individuals who are seeking emotional support and joy in the form of a cuddly lifelike robot. From robot dogs to robot cats, here are the best robot pets to own in case you’re looking for a companion yourself or for someone else!
In case you’re not aware yet, the military has been investing in robot dogs. The Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida specifically has been investing in robot dogs built by Ghost Robotics since November 2020 to patrol the perimeters of its air bases and replace station surveillance cameras.
These robot dogs, called Vision 60, are also being used by the US Air Force to conduct remote inspections, surveillance, and mapping missions.
The global leader in space exploration, NASA, and other space institutions have been deploying robots to conduct space missions and explorations alongside astronauts. After the success of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover, Mars 2022 Curiosity Rover, and surely a lot more, robots in space have been a common sighting.
Robots such as the Robonaut 2 is specifically designed to help astronauts with menial but important tasks like cleaning handrails, picking objects, and flipping switches. With the help of Robonaut 2, human astronauts are free to perform and focus on other tasks.
With regard to space explorations, the LEMUR FreeClimber robot is currently crawling, walking, and scaling the extreme terrains of Mars, the Moon, and other small bodies. These robots are helping astronauts discover more about outer space and planets that they cannot scale themselves due to human limitations and rough conditions.
With the percentage of robots in the retail industry expected to increase year-on-year, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing more of these bots in grocery aisles and stores. Seen as effective in cutting down costs while improving the rate of productivity, robots in retail are helping humans and employees in tasks such as cleaning, stocking, and lifting.
Similar to robots in retails are robots in warehousing. Digit, the bipedal robot designed by Agility Robotics, is a plug-and-play robot that will operate on its own to alleviate humans from routine warehouse tasks and jobs.
Digit can lift, stack, and deliver boxes in a structured way, which will allow its colleagues to focus on tasks that require their undivided attention, such as inventory.
Depending on where you live, you may have seen robots running or driving around making food deliveries. From hot pizza boxes to fancy Italian food, robots such as the Kiwibot and Coco have been making their rounds delivering orders from your favorite restaurants.
The Coco robots are equipped with GPS tracking and two-way microphones to help them navigate and can cover orders within their two-mile radius. On the other hand, the Kiwibots also act as mapping and data robots aside from delivering food.
If you ever find yourself on a Royal Caribbean cruise, then make your way down to the Bionic Bar for some drinks crafted and served by their robot bartenders. These robots are capable of making 1,000 drinks per day using 21 mixers and 30 spirits all the while moving as gracefully as ballerinas.
As a response to the changing restaurant landscape and customer behavior brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, robot servers in restaurants such as the BellaBot are now becoming a norm.
With the ability to serve numerous food, plates, and drinks at a time — some even capable of being the restaurant’s front-of-house, robots in the restaurant service industry are slowly becoming a permanent solution with the recent worker shortage in the industry.
When attending sporting events and games, there would be halftimes and segments dedicated to entertainment. While usual performances would be care of cheerleaders, artists, or performers, robots are soon becoming sporting attractions.
In 2019, the robot CUE by Toyota hyped the crowd as it won a Guinness World Record for “most consecutive basketball free throws by a humanoid robot”. Albeit it was assisted, it was nothing less impressive and entertaining.
Not too long ago, the 2021 Olympics also used CUE to entertain attendees and the crowd with its free throws talent.
For the Tokyo 2020 games, field support robots were deployed to help with game chores such as retrieving balls and other gameplay equipment. This helped staff and the crew on an operational basis as their energies are spent managing other logistics while the robots are out on the field.
Aside from robot pets, though, there are modern robots that are made to be social, interactive, and assistive. These social robots act as home assistants to help people at home with some tasks.
Amazon’s Astro Home Assistant Robot, for instance, can run errands such as delivering items, charging your phone, creating to-do lists, prompt reminders, and more. It even has a camera, which you can use to make video calls or monitor pets at home.
While Astro is used in domestic homes, there are “home assistant” robots that can be used in the healthcare industry and in hospitals. A hospital in Singapore, for example, revolutionizes its healthcare system by employing more than 50 robots to assist employees and patients.
Certainly, as technology and the field of robotics continue to progress, we can expect more robots to coexist with humans and help in making both our work and personal lives easier.
Rightfully so, there are those who are wary of robots performing human tasks. Although, one need not worry about being displaced by these robots, as they are simply designed to assist us to a certain extent.