The nursing industry has experienced a boom in the recent years, with many developed countries feeling an urgent need for qualified nurses. In many of these countries, they do not have enough nurses to fill the need. As a result, they have resorted to “importing” nurses from other countries, where nursing schools have cropped up like mushrooms after the rain. While it may seem that this trend can solve the nursing crisis, it does not seem to be the case.
Enter technology. Think about how science fiction highlights the use of robots as helpers in the home. This is what Toyota Motor Corp. had in mind, together with the dearth in nurses, when they developed the RoboNurse.
Well, it is not really called RoboNurse, but I think that that is a descriptive name for Ava, the health care robot. Together with Toyota Memorial Hospital and Fujita Health University, Toyota created Ava. Her purpose? To “support independent living for people incapacitated through sickness or injury, while also assisting in their return to health and reducing the physical burden on caregivers.”
From the scarce information that can be found on the RoboNurse, it looks like the robot will not replace nurses – for now. They can make things much easier for everyone concerned, though, and together with the other robots that Toyota have developed/are developing. More than the nursing robot, there are other robots that can be used to help people around the house. They are not exactly like Rosey (remember the Jetson’s household robot?), but the idea is similar: to make life easier. These other robots can help disabled or elderly people “walk” around the house and even lift and move things.
The robots are still not ready for production, but Toyota says that they will be released in the market by 2013. That may seem a long way off, but it sure is an exciting thing to look forward to! Here’s a video of Ava.
Via CNN Money