Human Interaction Robots in Healthcare/Care Settings
- Some trends surrounding human-interaction/human-friendly/social robots for use in healthcare include:
- The healthcare sector will be the biggest driver in the adoption of social robots.
- The rapidly aging population will increase demand for social robots.
- The key players offering social robots for use in a healthcare setting are SIASUN Robots, Furhat Robotics AB, Intuition Robotics, Blue Frog Robotics, Hanson Robotics, among others.
We have provided the trends surrounding human-interaction/human-friendly/social robots for use in healthcare/healthcare setting and a list of the key players offering human-interaction/human-friendly/social robots for use in healthcare/healthcare setting.
Human Interaction Robots Trends in Healthcare
Trend #1: Healthcare is the One of the Biggest Drivers of the Adoption of Social Robots
- According to market reports, expert commentaries, and industry publications, the healthcare sector is expected to drive the most growth in the global social robots market during the next 5-10 years.
- Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector was already massively overwhelmed and understaffed. The pandemic exacerbated the pressure on the healthcare system.
- According to the World Economic Forum, the deployment of robots for COVID-19 across the world in an indication that the healthcare system will need more robots in the near future.
- As per the Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases, humanoid service robots witnessed accelerated adoption in healthcare for COVID-19 to help healthcare workers provide essential services and take care of patients.
- Human-interaction robots assist care homes by reducing loneliness, connecting with doctors, monitoring activities, and supporting caregivers. According to Research and Markets, "in February 2021, Vic Foundation partnered with Research Manitoba for a new telepresence robot project designed to minimize the burden on these caregivers and support individuals living with dementia."
- According to the World Health Organization, there will be a 12% increase in neurological disorders to reach 102 million cases in 2030. This will necessitate increased deployment of social robots to aid in the rehabilitation of patients. These robots will assist in repeating rehabilitation exercises in the same way each time to train the brain muscles to perform these activities alone.
- There is early adoption of such rehabilitation social robots in various hospitals across the world to help in the treatment of diseases such as cerebral palsy. In November 2020, Seoul Metropolitan Children's Hospital opened a center for the having problems walking as a result of cerebral palsy or other conditions.
- The center adopted Hocoma's Lokomat Pro robot to rehabilitate neurological patients.
- There is also a noticeable engagement by countries and companies in social robotics R&D, including "research projects such as Human Interactive Robotics for Healthcare (HIRo) funded by Research Council of Norway's ICT Plus initiative focuses on developing humanoid robotic platforms to assist both health professionals and patients in municipality's home help services and hospital by performing contextual interactive tasks such as helping healthcare professionals in every patient task and accompanying new patients, visitors among others are expected to drive the growth of the market."
Trend #2: The Rapidly Aging Population Will Increase Demand for Social Robots
- Most social robots have found their application in the provision of companionship and living assistance to the aging population across the world. According to researchers, most social robots projects and initiatives are tailored for the elderly and children since they help detect and fight diseases like dementia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cancer, and diabetes.
- According to the US Census Bureau, old-age population made up 16.9% of the population in 2020 and is projected to reach 22% by 2050. In Canada, seniors will make up 23% of the population, totaling over 9.5 million by 2030.
- According to industry experts, the growing old-age population is contributing significantly to the demand of social robots and will continue to do so in the future.
- University of Bedfordshire researcher conducted trails on Pepper, the world's first social humanoid robot, in senior living care homes in Japan and the UK. According to the results, "older adults in care homes who interacted with the robots for up to 18 hours across two weeks had a significant improvement in their mental health."
Healthcare Human Interaction Robots Key Players
- During the last decade, there has been an upsurge in the development and deployment of social/human interaction robots in the healthcare sector to perform different functions such as surgical assistance, emotional and aging care, companionship, telemedicine and rehabilitation.
- While social robots have been applied in healthcare settings for a while now, it is during the COVID-19 pandemic that their demand grew due to the pressure on the healthcare sector and frontline healthcare workers.
- According to research, social robots in healthcare are mostly used to assist the elderly and children.
- Some of the companies developing popular social robots for use in healthcare include Siasun Robots, Furhat Robotics AB, Intuition Robotics Ltd, Blue Frog Robotics, Cloud Minds Technology, Riken, Zora Bots, AIST, Hanson Robotics, and many more.
1. SIASUN Robots
- SIASUN Robot & Automation, a leading robot manufacturer from China, has been making social robots to provide better services for the aging population in China.
- The company's robots have been deployed in nursing institutions, medical institutions and nursing homes for the elderly. The company has so far created over 20 "robotic products, including intelligent robots for daily care, intelligent beds, semi-automatic bed chairs and walking aids."
- In 2020, robots designed by SIASUN were used to deliver food, water, and medicine to people in COVID-19 isolation wards in Shenyang, northeast China.
2. Furhat Robotics AB
- Sweden-based Furhat Robotics is develops "the world's most advanced social robot." Furhat has produced two social robots being applied in healthcare: The Furhat robot and PETRA, which was developed in partnership with Merck.
- The Furhat Robot is placed in a clinic or a public location and it greets patients in their own language, registers walk-ins, records medical history and measures basic vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure.
- According to Furhat Robotics, the Furhat Robot provides a comforting and empathetic patient experience, frees nurses and doctors from time-consuming and contagious tasks to enable healthcare access that is more cost- and resource efficient.
- Furhat Robotics also partnered with Merck to develop PETRA, a social robot that detects the signs of diabetes, alcoholism and hypothyroidism.
- PETRA stands for Prescreening Experience Through Robot Assessment, and has been "deliberately designed to look, feel and act more ‘human’. She has a warm personality – encouraging people to share information about their personal habits and health concerns."
3. Intuition Robotics
- Intuition Robotics is an Israeli robotics startup that develops social robots, or as the company calls them, "empathetic digital companions."
- The company is committed to creating social and human-interaction robots that help older people live more comfortably. Intuition Robotics' most popular robot is ElliQ, which engages, assesses, and empowers older adults.
- ElliQ is a personalized care companion for older adults that improve their experience, increases patient engagement and offers actionable insights and data to detect problems early for appropriate intervention.
- According to Intuition Robotics, ElliQ empowers patients and their care providers in the following ways:
- supports the independence of older adults.
- Provides older adults with social companionship.
- Engages older adults in wellness activities.
- Connects them to family members and caregivers.
- Gives patients the ability to take charge of their health.
- Tracks patients activities within the nursing home.
- ElliQ is fully customizable to serve the needs of individual patients.
4. Blue Frog Robotics
- Blue Frog Robotics' goal is "design and develop robots that are accessible to everyone and help people live easier and safer, and have fun."
- The company's most popular robot is called Buddy, "the first emotional companion robot."
- 5. Cloud Minds Technology: a Beijing-based startup that provides cloud-based systems for robots donated humanoid robots to a Wuhan hospital to free up exhausted workers.
- 6. Hanson Robotics: The Hong-Kong based developer of popular humanoid robot Sophia is planning to launch another social robot, Grace, to interact with and offer companionship to the elderly and those isolated by the pandemic. Grace can diagnose patients, do talk therapy, and help healthcare providers to better assist seniors. The company plans to "mass-produce a beta version of Grace...and there are plans to fully deploy her next year in locations including Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan and Korea."
- 7. Riken, a Japanese scientific research institute, and Sumitomo Riko Limited, a manufacturing company in Japan, teamed up to develop ROBEAR. ROBEAR is an experimental nursing robot that helps lift patients out of bed and into wheelchairs and also helps them stand up.
- 8. Zora Bots: Belgium-based Zora bots makes friendly and intelligent social bots to help the elderly in "aerobics and singing, playing games and reading."
- 9. Moin’s: Moin's develops the Care-O-Bot is a social robot that helps make the lives of seniors easier. The robot perform tasks such as delivering food, drinks, and medications, assisting in cooking and cleaning, making emergency calls, hosting video conferences, and engaging in conversations.
- 10. AIST: AIST is a leading automation pioneer in Japan that has developed the PARO Therapeutic Robot which reduces patient stress and stimulates the interaction between patients and caregivers.
- 11. MOVIA Robotics: MOVIA creates social robots to offer Robot-Assisted Instruction to help children with autism.
- 12. Embodied: Embodied's Moxie is a "revolutionary companion for children ages 5-10 that supports social, emotional, and cognitive development through play-based learning."
- 13: Catalia Health: Catalia Health offers the Mabu robot, a "personal healthcare companion robot designed to help patients dealing with chronic illness."
We searched through industry reports from source such as Research and Markets, Markets and Markets, Transparency Market Research; academic sources such as Research Gate, The Journal of Information Technology Teaching Cases; and news sources such as Business Insider, CNET, Xinhuanet, RoboticsBiz, among others.