2. Overview and Classification of Current and Potential Robotics Applications in Health/Care and Social Care
2.1. Traditional Specialised Medical Robots: Robots for Surgery (Telerobotic Surgery) and Rehabilitation
2.2. An Emerging Class of Versatile and (Usually) Less Costly Robots Supporting “Softer” Human-Robot Interaction Tasks
2.2.1. Robots Providing Assisted Logistics in Hospital and Care Home Environments
2.2.2. Telepresence (Video Conferencing) and Companion Robots in Home and Hospital Settings
2.2.3. Humanoid Robots for Entertaining, Educating and Improving the Communication Skills of Children with Special Needs
2.2.4. Robots as Motivational Coaches (Persuasive Robotics)
2.2.5. Home Assistance Robots for an Ageing Society
2.2.6. Human-Robot Relationships in Medical and Care Situations
3.1. Ingredients for Success
3.1.1. General Desiderata in Successful Robotic Solutions
- Adequate personalisation, where applicable, to match different user types and even individual patient/user profiles;
- Appropriate (safe) levels of robot autonomy in various use scenarios;
- Proper object manipulation and navigation in unstructured environments for those robots handling such tasks;
- Patient/user safety;
- Reliability and robustness, e.g., the availability and automatic triggering of proper contingency plans and mechanisms for robots that are remotely controlled over the Internet, to continue functioning safely when their main Internet connection is broken for whatever reason;
- Sustainability, particularly in non-technical environments (patients’ homes are not high-tech facilities with resident technicians, and might be located in very distant areas that cannot be quickly or easily reached by technicians; where applicable, systems should be configurable and fixable over the Internet); and
- For robots serving motivational and/or social purposes, they additionally need to be personable, intelligent and highly interactive.
3.1.2. User Acceptance and Ethical Issues
3.1.3. Robotiquette and Robots that Learn
3.2. Cost and Workforce Issues
3.2.1. How Cost Effective Is a Robotic Solution (Costs per Unit, Running Costs and Cost Justification)
3.2.2. Cost Saving Approaches: Modelling in Virtual Worlds and Using Virtual Robots
3.2.3. Impacts on the Workforce and Skills Shortages
3.3. Robotics as a Complementary Technology to Self-Care, Home Care and Telehealthcare
3.3.1. Personal Mini Robots for Self-Care
3.3.2. Monitoring, Assistance and Companionship Robots for Home Care and Telehealthcare
3.3.3. How to Best Combine AAL and Robotics into a Successful Telehealthcare and Home Care Solution
3.4. Some Emerging and Future Robotics Developments and Applications
Conflicts of Interest
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