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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30

Telepresence robots to support telehealth during pandemics

1 Centre For Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan Joint Institute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
2 School of Science, Technology and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Mingzhong Wang
School of Science, Technology and Engineering - ML12, University of the Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore, QLD 4558
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/digm.digm_15_22

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As the world becomes older, sustainable healthy aging becomes an important goal of social development. Robotic technologies have been widely considered an effective solution to reduce the labor demand and cost in aged care, thus providing satisfiable services to the elderly while keeping the cost low. The global outbreak of corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has strengthened this trend when it impacted the elderly most because (1) the elderly was generally the most vulnerable population group to pandemics, and (2) the resources available to the elderly significantly declined due to lockdown and quarantines. The observations and experience from COVID-19 inspired us to consider the impact of pandemics on sustainable healthy aging, which was largely missing in existing work, leading to the study of the use of robots in general and telepresence robots in specific to aid sustainable healthy aging. The methodology of systematic review is applied to retrieve and analyze the articles published in nine databases between 2010 and 2020. Based on the review, the paper classifies the applications of robots in pandemics into four main categories, including healthcare, social support, education, and manufacturing. Further analysis of these applications revealed the missing features and challenges in applying them to healthy aging. The discoveries and findings in this paper provide practical guidelines for the future design and development of (telepresence) robots.

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