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No Masks, No Coughs: Robots Can Be Just What the Doctor Ordered in Time of Social Distancing


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Avatarin chair Akira Fukabori chats with a colleague via his companys newme robot.

Robots in Japan have taken on the roles of bartenders, security guards, deliverymen, and more, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Simon Denyer/The Washington Post

In Japan, a country with a long fascination with robots, automated assistants have offered their services as bartenders, security guards, deliverymen, and more, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan's Avatarin developed the "newme" robot to allow people to be present while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic.

The telepresence robot is essentially a tablet on a wheeled stand with the user's face on the screen, whose location and direction can be controlled via laptop or tablet.

Doctors have used the newme robot to communicate with patients in a coronavirus ward, while university students in Tokyo used it to remotely attend a graduation ceremony.

The company is working on prototypes that will allow users to control the robot through virtual reality headsets, and gloves that would permit users to lift, touch, and feel objects through a remote robotic hand.

From The Washington Post
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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