The second Robotics4EU co-creation workshop was held on the 6th of June at OsloMet University in Oslo, Norway. This workshop brought together developers and end-users in the field of robotics to explore the potential opportunities and implications of robotics solutions within the healthcare sector.
IDMind, a specialized company in the development and commercialization of innovative products and services in robotics, automation, and mechatronics, participated in the workshop. They expressed their appreciation for the event, emphasizing that “It was a great opportunity to have interesting discussions and get feedback from stakeholders and colleagues (…) Opportunities, challenges, safety, ethics, social readiness, and many other topics were tackled, in a group effort for the common goal of enhancing our daily lives through robotics.”
The end users who attended the workshop also expressed their enthusiasm for the event and the activities carried out. Bárbara Dias Teixeira, a Portuguese Science Communicator, shared her thoughts on the workshop, highlighting the intriguing discussion on the subject of social readiness concerning robots and artificial intelligence, particularly within the healthcare domain.
Athena Ghubril, a health science student at Western University, reflected on the workshop, stating that “This presentation fostered an environment for collaboration and discussion on society’s promptness to have robots implemented in healthcare settings.” and “The application of robots to take care of mechanical tasks such as delivering medication or lab results, and cleaning rooms once a patient is discharged, would relieve some of the work faced by healthcare professionals.”. Athena acknowledged concerns about job displacement but emphasized that “it must be understood that they are used as assistive technologies, focusing on person-centred care as they only alleviate tasks to allow for more time with patients.”
Lana Mamika, an Honours Specialization in Biology Health Science student at Western University, also shared her feedback on the workshop. She highlighted the importance of the workshop that “Through a variety of activities (…), it outlined the major concerns that must be sought after regarding the societal and ethical responses of healthcare-oriented robots. Through discussions, we highlighted key opportunities that these diverse robots bring to healthcare and the obstacles that are predicted to be faced. I believe as future healthcare workers it is vital to familiarize ourselves with these technologies since medicine and biomedical technologies are being more intertwined. This workshop has provided me with a different perspective on patient care and has opened a discussion of future patient-based technologies to be developed.”
The workshop successfully outlined the major societal and ethical issues related to healthcare-oriented robots, while also highlighting the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It emphasized the importance of familiarizing future healthcare workers with these technologies, as they become increasingly integrated into medical practices.
In all, the second Robotics4EU co-creation workshop provided a collaborative environment for stakeholders to come together, exchange ideas, and pave the way for the future development and implementation of robotics solutions in healthcare. It fostered a deeper understanding of the potential benefits and challenges associated with robotics in healthcare, ultimately aiming to enhance patient care and improve our daily lives through technological advancements.
Let’s empower the responsible robotics community together and maximise the societal acceptance of robots for healthcare!