Robotic nurses in development
A team of roboticists, led by Dr Elena De Momi, at Italy’s Politecnico di Milano have trained a robot to imitate a human being’s actions, specifically of emulating a nurse passing instruments to a surgeon, and related actions.
The process involved taking photographs of humans performing the actions, feeding this into the robotic arm’s neural network. The robot was then guided through the imitation of these processes, led by a human operator. Humans monitored the robot’s movements and noted a success rate of c. 70%, where a success is defined as matching human movements.
De Momi comments: “As a roboticist, I am convinced that robotic (co)workers and collaborators will definitely change the work market, but they won’t steal job opportunities. They will just allow us to decrease workload and achieve better performances in several tasks, from medicine to industrial applications.”
The key benefits of robots performing human tasks are the precision and the continued precision over a prolonged time, where a human would tire.
Results are promising though the team are aware further research is required to refine the end result.
Dr De Momi’s work relates specifically to healthcare robotics, however, this technique can be applied to other areas of robotics.
See our current robotics roles here.