Healthcare Perspective: Four ways technology could transform healthcare service
1. Robotic nurse assistants
Automation is reaching deeper into healthcare, with the unveiling of a robot named RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, pictured above) – the first robot that can lift up or set down a patient from or to a bed or a wheelchair, in the same way a healthcare assistant would. RIBA has strong, human-like arms and tactile guidance methods thanks to its high-accuracy tactile sensors.
2. Smart walking stick
French walking stick makers Fayet has created a next-generation walking stick that monitors its users as they move and alerts caretakers if they have a fall. It is also fitted with software that over time learns its owners’ walking habits and can send a message to relatives and healthcare professionals if they change dramatically.
3. Lightbulbs that disinfect
Hospitals are excited by the development of technology that uses visible light to continuously disinfect the environment and bolster infection-prevention efforts. The light reflects off walls and surfaces and penetrates harmful microorganisms.
4. Long-lasting batteries
New technologies are emerging that will provide longer-lasting batteries that are quick to charge, transforming the efficiency of medical devices from wearables to pacemakers. Aluminium-ion batteries, micro supercapacitors, foam batteries and even skin power (which harvests the current caused by friction on skin and clothes) are all set to become mainstream.