Special Issue "Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic"

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022 | Viewed by 14531

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Marco Ceccarelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LARM2—Laboratory of Robot Mechatronics, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Roma, Italy
Interests: mechanism design; mechanics of robots; robot design; service systems; history of engineering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The field of service robotics has developed considerably in recent decades, including solutions in applications and utilities in medical fields and especially in support of surgical medical activities. Today more than ever, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the support of service robotics can result, in many cases, in well-appreciated and consistent help in the fight against the spread of the pandemic and, moreover, in the treatment of patients in very critical conditions due to COVID-19. However, the pandemic still requires considerable efforts from medical personnel and technical support in order to solve critical situations in intensive and sub-intensive care treatments as well as medical treatment in non-hospital and even residential living situations. Service robotics can contribute successfully to these challenges with innovative system solutions and easier procedures for both medical operators and patients. Therefore, in this Special Issue, the purpose of collecting papers focused on service robotics helping in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is intended to give visibility and stimulus to solutions and improvements of robotic service systems with performance suitable for the assistance and support operations of patients and medical operators.

Papers are welcomed in all major areas of R&D and innovation in service robotics helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and support treatments against it, including topics such as medical robots and devices, bio-inspired and cognitive robots, visual servicing of robot/human motion and status, human–robot and human–human interactions, cloud robotics for health care systems, and personal robots for patient care assistance. The solicited topics are related to new theories, advanced designs of robot mechanics and control architectures, and the development of intelligent robotic applications in helping in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • novel design and applications of robotic system;
  • advanced robot control;
  • human–robot interfaces;
  • robot vision systems and visual servoing techniques;
  • mobile robots, humanoid and walking robots;
  • bio-inspired and swarm robotic systems;
  • towards micro and nano-scale robots;
  • personal robots for care assistance;
  • medical robots and bionic prostheses;
  • intelligent information technologies for cognitive robots;
  • cognitive robots and emotional intelligence;
  • cloud robotics;
  • ethical, legal, and social issues of service robotics in medical treatment areas.

Videos can be published as links to the accepted papers.

Scientific steering committee

Prof. Dr. Chee-Kong Chui

Dr. Filippo Cavallo

Prof. Dr. Marco Franceschini

Prof. Dr. Bernardo Innocenti

Prof. Dr. Min Cheol Lee

Prof. Dr. Ken Masamune

Prof. Dr. Abhilash Pandya

Prof. Dr. Jong-Hyeon Park

Prof. Dr. Shahram Payandeh

Dr. Tarun Podder

Prof. Dr. Girijesh Prasad

Prof. Dr. Achim Schweikard

Prof. Dr. Kevin Warwick

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Carbone

Prof. Dr. Toshio Fukuda

Prof. Dr. Gursel Alici

Prof. Dr. Seokheun Choi

Prof. Dr. Min Cheol Lee

Prof. Dr. Ken Masamune

Prof. Dr. Giulio Rosati

Prof. Dr. Saïd Zeghloul

Prof. Dr. Dan Zhang

Contact the Guest editor or the journal staff for any query

Prof. Dr. Marco Ceccarelli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs), it is reduced to 1000 CHF for the invited submission to this special issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • service robotics
  • medical robotic devices
  • assisting patient care
  • COVID-19 pandemic

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Requirements and Solutions for Motion Limb Assistance of COVID-19 Patients
Robotics 2022, 11(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11020045 - 04 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
COVID-19 patients are strongly affected in terms of limb motion when imbedded during the acute phase of the infection, but also during the course of recovery therapies. Peculiarities are investigated for design requirements for medical devices in limb motion assistance for those patients. [...] Read more.
COVID-19 patients are strongly affected in terms of limb motion when imbedded during the acute phase of the infection, but also during the course of recovery therapies. Peculiarities are investigated for design requirements for medical devices in limb motion assistance for those patients. Solutions are analyzed from existing medical devices to outline open issues to provide guidelines for the proper adaption or for new designs supporting patients against COVID-19 effects. Examples are reported from authors’ activities with cable driven assisting devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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Article
Novel Reconfigurable Spherical Parallel Mechanisms with a Circular Rail
Robotics 2022, 11(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics11020030 - 22 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1057
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented stress on the world healthcare system and demonstrated the need for modern automated robotic solutions for numerous medical applications. Often, robots that provide spherical motion of the end-effector are used in this area. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented stress on the world healthcare system and demonstrated the need for modern automated robotic solutions for numerous medical applications. Often, robots that provide spherical motion of the end-effector are used in this area. In this paper, we discuss a spherical mechanism with a circular rail and provide several possible variations of the design: spherical robots with three or four legs and 4-DOF robots with an additional translational DOF, including a decoupled mechanism. The screw theory is used to analyze the mobility of the discussed mechanisms, and their advantages and drawbacks are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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Article
A Simulation Study of a Planar Cable-Driven Parallel Robot to Transport Supplies for Patients with Contagious Diseases in Health Care Centers
Robotics 2021, 10(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics10040111 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1666
Abstract
Currently, a large number of investigations are being carried out in the area of robotics focused on proposing solutions in the field of health, and many of them have directed their efforts on issues related to the health emergency due to COVID-19. Considering [...] Read more.
Currently, a large number of investigations are being carried out in the area of robotics focused on proposing solutions in the field of health, and many of them have directed their efforts on issues related to the health emergency due to COVID-19. Considering that one of the ways to reduce the risk of contagion is by avoiding contact and closeness between people when exchanging supplies such as food, medicine, clothing, etc., this work proposes the use of a planar cable-driven parallel robot for the transport of supplies in hospitals whose room distribution has planar architecture. The robot acts in accordance with a procedure proposed for each task to be carried out, which includes the process of disinfection (based on Ultraviolet-C light) of the supplies transported inside the robot’s end effector. The study presents a design proposal for the geometry of the planar cable-driven parallel robots and its end effector, as well as the software simulations that allow evaluating the robot’s movement trajectories and the responses of the position control system based on Fuzzy-PID controllers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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Article
Paquitop.arm, a Mobile Manipulator for Assessing Emerging Challenges in the COVID-19 Pandemic Scenario
Robotics 2021, 10(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics10030102 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1976
Abstract
The use of automation and robotics technologies for caregiving and assistance has become a very interesting research topic in the field of robotics. The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of social distancing in hospitals and health centers, and collaborative robotics can [...] Read more.
The use of automation and robotics technologies for caregiving and assistance has become a very interesting research topic in the field of robotics. The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of social distancing in hospitals and health centers, and collaborative robotics can bring substantial improvements in terms of sparing health workers basic operations. Thus, researchers from Politecnico di Torino are working on Paquitop.arm, a mobile robot for assistive tasks. The purpose of this paper is to present a system composed of an omnidirectional mobile platform, a 6 DOF robot arm, and a depth camera. Task-oriented considerations are made to estimate a set of mounting parameters that represents a trade-off between the exploitation of the robot arm workspace and the compactness of the entire system. To this end, dexterity and force transmission indexes are introduced to study both the kinematic and the static behavior of the manipulator as a function of the mounting parameters. Finally, to avoid singularities during the execution of the task, the platform approach to the task workspaces is studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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Article
Smart Cleaner: A New Autonomous Indoor Disinfection Robot for Combating the COVID-19 Pandemic
Robotics 2021, 10(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics10030087 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4520
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic imposes an increasing demand for service robots as a substitute for humans to conduct various types of work in contaminated areas. Such work includes logistics, patient care, and disinfection, which can reduce the risk of human exposure to the highly [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic imposes an increasing demand for service robots as a substitute for humans to conduct various types of work in contaminated areas. Such work includes logistics, patient care, and disinfection, which can reduce the risk of human exposure to the highly contagious and deadly virus. This paper presents the design and development of Smart Cleaner, which is a new cost-effective autonomous indoor disinfection robot. It integrates a wheeled mobile robot platform and a hydrogen peroxide atomization device for automated disinfection operation in the complex indoor environment. Through the system integration of various hardware components and software programming, a prototype of the disinfection robot has been fabricated for experimental investigation. A simulation study of the drymist hydrogen peroxide disinfection model was carried out to understand the diffusion of disinfectant in a room environment. The effectiveness of the developed robot was verified in practical scenarios, such as hospital, hotel, office, and laboratory. The effect of disinfection was validated by a qualified third-party testing agency. Results demonstrate the high efficiency of the developed disinfection robot dedicated to autonomous indoor disinfection work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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Review

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Review
Socially Assistive Robots Helping Older Adults through the Pandemic and Life after COVID-19
Robotics 2021, 10(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics10030106 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2681
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has critically impacted the health and safety of the population of the world, especially the health and well-being of older adults. Socially assistive robots (SARs) have been used to help to mitigate the effects of the pandemic including loneliness and [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has critically impacted the health and safety of the population of the world, especially the health and well-being of older adults. Socially assistive robots (SARs) have been used to help to mitigate the effects of the pandemic including loneliness and isolation, and to alleviate the workload of both formal and informal caregivers. This paper presents the first extensive survey and discussion on just how socially assistive robots have specifically helped this population, as well as the overall impact on health and the acceptance of such robots during the pandemic. The goal of this review is to answer research questions with respect to which SARs were used during the pandemic and what specific tasks they were used for, and what the enablers and barriers were to the implementation of SARs during the pandemic. We will also discuss lessons learned from their use to inform future SAR design and applications, and increase their usefulness and adoption in a post-pandemic world. More research is still needed to investigate and appreciate the user experience of older adults with SARs during the pandemic, and we aim to provide a roadmap for researchers and stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Robotics against COVID-2019 Pandemic)
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