Robots help us build cars, explore the deepest oceans and farthest regions of space, and even take one for the team when it comes to bomb disposal. Now, we've got another trick to teach them: keeping us alive longer. The field of robotics offers limitless possibilities when it comes to improving our quality of life, or even — you know — making sure we're around long enough to enjoy said quality of life.
Click the Continue link below to see five awesome robots that will totally save your life.
1. Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR)
Manufacturer: Vecna (USA)
Equipment: Hydraulic-powered arms for heavy lifting; jointed, tracked legs; different postures for different jobs.
Friend On The Field: The BEAR is designed to scoop up injured soldiers and ferry them out of harm's way, but it can do more than just that. With clawed articulators, maneuverability and its ability to carry heavy loads, the BEAR could perform jobs such as loading a truck, moving inventory or searching for explosive devices.
2. da Vinci Surgical System
Manufacturer: Intuitive Surgical (USA)
Equipment: 3D HD playback and four arms: two that act as the surgeon's "hands," one for an endoscope, and an optional fourth for additional, specialty tasks.
Cold Cuts: Robotic surgical systems are more precise than humans, and that accuracy translates into smaller incisions, faster healing time and less pain all around. Right now, the enormous costs of keeping a machine such as the da Vinci running are a barrier to them being installed far and wide, but in the future you can expect a lot of surgery to be done by surgeons operating via a robotic system.
3. Welfare Robot System
Manufacturer: KAIST (Korea)
Equipment: A friendly face and the programming to be a good steward.
Robo-Nanny: KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) is providing robotic wheelchairs and beds to rehab clinics in Korea. The real star? This robotic nanny is basically our very own Rosie from the Jetsons. The role of nanny is a popular job option for the robots of tomorrow, as they provide continuous care and attention, remind patients of medicine cycles and can even help find misplaced objects.
4. MedicAir Courier UAV
Manufacturer: BFA Systems (USA)
Equipment: Prop-powered body capable of carrying an 18 ounce payload in 30 mile-an-hour winds.
Life Flight: In rural and undeveloped regions, a road (or lack thereof) may not be the easiest/quickest way to get medicine from point A to B. Tiny UAVs such as BFA System's MedicAir could, with the help of a human operator, transfer samples — or even medicine, with larger UAVs — to hospitals, villages or anywhere, really. A pair of MedicAir UAVs are already doing just that in South Africa.
5. Mystery Rescue Robot
Operator: Tokyo Fire Department (Japan)
Equipment: Two claws and a conveyor belt to gobble up humans.
Hungry, Hungry Robo: What seems like a wild concept isn't new to Japan, where powerful earthquakes and dramatic landslides can create the need for amazingly difficult rescue operations. Fire departments across the country have experimented with robots equipped with powerful claw-arms such as the one in the video above (the more compact successor to the Robokiyu), which could sift through rubble and pull survivors into the safety of its body, carting them away to receive medical attention.
Know a robot that may save your life one day? Sound off in the comments below!