In the 90s we thought we were in flying cars and had fully automated workers. While we’re not quite there yet (we’re still driving around on four wheels emptying our own trash cans), so many interesting robots are already working among us.
There are so much more than self-driving cars on the way and around 100 different types of Roomba – there are some really impressive and resourceful robots in many different industries that are helping us every day and making you realize how far we have come.
Photo credit: Andy Kelly / Unsplash
Collaborative robots (or “cobots”) are robots designed to work with people in close proximity. They are designed to help us with everyday tasks rather than doing their job without human intervention. There are cobots in industries from hospitality to healthcare.
So what are some of the weirdest and most wonderful cobots in use around the world?
Cobots in hospitality
Almost every industry is at least thinking about how useful cobots can be. Hospitality takes full advantage of automation and robotics to relieve its workforce and attract curious customers.
The perfectly named “Weird Hotel” in Japan was designed to be completely autonomous and occupied by cobots. They didn’t quite make it, and some cobot employees lost their jobs on humans as their technology couldn’t quite replace the human touch.
The Hilton hotel chain went for a slightly less ambitious (if easier to maintain) model by employing a robotic concierge named Connie. Connie is there to interact with guests by answering questions about tourist attractions, restaurants and more, and providing hotel information. Connie learns from every interaction in order to adapt and improve. She has been a successful employee so far!
Hotels are not the only sector of the hospitality industry that uses cobots. Have you always wanted to see how your margarita or Long Island iced tea is made by a robot? Then take a luxury cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises, who have cobot bartenders on some ships, or take a trip to the Makr Shakr bar in Milan, where you can choose your cocktail via an app and watch it from robotic arms in front of you is created. People are still there to monitor if the cobot makes a mistake – and to make sure your drink is garnished to perfection!
Healthcare cobots are freeing up valuable health professional time to improve patient care. Cobot technology is used to disinfect rooms, take and analyze samples, prepare and dispense medication, and much more.
In some larger facilities, robotic carts move bedding and even meals from floor to floor. There are also robotic assistants who can help paraplegics move and perform physical therapy. There are even cobots that can draw blood – especially good news for anyone who has been awkwardly pricked with a needle by an inexperienced medical student looking for a vein!
Cobot medical assistants can release nurses and enable them to help more patients by monitoring critical patient statistics and alerting nurses when a human presence is required. These robotic assistants also automatically enter information into the electronic patient record. Robots also help with surgery, allowing doctors to perform surgery through a tiny incision instead of an inch long incision.
Cobots on farms
Agriculture and robots … not two things you would instantly link, right? Technology and cobots have actually found their place in agriculture, helping farmers to relieve manual labor. Perhaps one of the most interesting uses for cobots on farms is in feeding, handling and herding animals.
Drones can be used to herd animals that have been desensitized to German Shepherds or to herd animals that are very stressed around dogs. Drones also allow farmers to remotely monitor their land, monitor water and feed levels, and check animal health without disturbing the animals.
With countless more innovative applications for cobots, it’s fair to say that the robots have officially landed – but without our help they can’t quite rule the world yet. Which cobot would you invent on this occasion?
Learn more about cobots at RNA Automation.