According to the market reports, the global humanoid robot market size reached a value of US$620 million in 2018 and it’s industry revenue is expected to skyrocket with a CAGR of 46.71% during the forecast period 2019-2025. Technological advances in humanoids have started to speed up with an incredible intervention of engineering, robot mechanism, and artificial intelligence. Initially, these advancements majorly aimed to create better prosthetics for human beings. However, in the current scenario, these research activities are not limited to helping man-kind but are evolving rapidly in different areas such as military, hospitality, healthcare, social assistance, and education, etc.
Specifically, in healthcare, humanoids are proving their worth in assisting surgeries, disinfecting rooms, dispensing medication, and significant other activities. They are more like new colleagues for doctors and medical staff to collaborate and further innovate healthcare facilities. As noted by a report, humanoid robots that could be used to remotely carry out tasks are also very important. Such robots are endowed with human capabilities to assist caregivers and patients, particularly in contaminated environments. These remotely operated robots are to possess certain characteristics for human-robot interaction.
The report further explores the most innovative applications of humanoid robots for children and elderly people:
Humanoid Robot for Pain Relief
Humanoid robots are used to implement technopsychological distraction for children in order to reduce their pain as a result of stress and anxiety during a medical procedure. Studies carried out by all point to the fact that children are more likely to smile when encountering medical procedures with a robot. The aim is to turn children’s attention away from the pain of the needle toward an amusing activity. States the principles of the attentional capacity theory, that the distraction stimulus must be stronger than the pain stimulus to gain the child’s attention. When programmed with humanistic characteristics and to execute psychological strategies, a humanoid robot shows promise of reducing procedural pain and distress in children.
Humanoid Robot for Aging Population
In a society where there is a rise in the disabled and aging population, there is a strong demand for robotics to tackle problems that arise from their inabilities to relate effectively with their environment. Robots for executing patient-transfer tasks are needed in nursing care facilities and hospitals. Scientists have developed a new prototype robot named RIBA with human-type arms which was designed to perform heavy physical tasks requiring human contact. The robot was able to transfer a human from a bed to a wheelchair and back. The caregiver can intuitively give instructions to RIBA through tactile sensors using a newly proposed method named tactile guidance. RIBA was developed to cope with the difficulties encountered previously by RI-MAN.
Another most interesting implementation of humanoid is Autism Special Education. The humanoid robot can engage children with applications designed for special education. The NAO robot is especially suited to interact with autistic children because the NAO robot is interactive and fun, engaging and captivating, and adaptive to the needs of the classroom from individuals to groups. It is a great help for teachers that appreciate eliminating monotonous tasks. The NAO robot has a pack of applications inspired by commonly practiced special education teaching methods (ABA, PECS, TEACCH, DENVER, SCERTS) to unlock deeper learning in the classroom. The applications are multi-educational and focus on educational lessons, communication skills, and daily life knowledge. The applications are structured to make children with disabilities comfortable and confident and they can be adapted to individual motivators, internal states, and personalities to create the perfect match.
The NAO robot is very predictable and reduces natural anxiety, its tireless features repeat until a child understands, and it is judgment free which increases a child’s confidence. NAO is able to bridge the human and technological worlds, linking autistic children by encouraging social interaction, learning, confidence, and self-esteem. The NAO robot is able to build the following skills: time perception, imitation, the theory of mind empathy, joint attention, turn-taking, academic skills, body awareness, verbal communication object labeling, nonverbal communication, and eye contact.