With top government health authorities cautioning it is just a short time before there is a COVID-19 flare-up in the U.S., it’s not likely that specialized masks and respirators, or canned goods and Clorox, will be adequate to battle a global pandemic. Viral flare-ups like COVID-19 feature the developing role of new medical technology — specifically, thoughts from the field of robotics — can play in battling the spread of novel infectious diseases. However, medical specialists say it will be a mix-up if innovation turns out just when the world is anxious.

“Extreme cases make us rethink how we do things,” says Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon professor of computer science & engineering at Texas A&M University. The 2014 Ebola outbreak in Texas, the first in the U.S., led to years of study by Murphy and others on emergency response and the integration of robotics with medicine to help limit pathways for a highly contagious disease to spread. “A hospital lost a whole wing temporarily. Two ambulances were infected,” she recalled.

In any case, she says, insufficient has changed. Wild thoughts from the world of robotics capture consideration, yet health-care specialists like Murphy are centered around more essential automated solutions, such as observing robots perform routine clinical work for infectious patients, without supplanting or taking out social insurance laborers, to free up medical staff so they can invest more time in direct consideration, as well as lessen danger of their presentation.

First off, the robots don’t look like individuals.

“There are lots of start-ups based on humanoid robots. No, no, no,” Murphy said.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Coverage People journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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