Robots may become heroes in the war on coronavirus

Long maligned as job-stealers and aspiring overlords, robots are being increasingly relied on as fast, efficient, contagion-proof champions in the war against the deadly coronavirus.

One team of robots temporarily cared for patients in a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Meals were served, temperatures taken and communications handled by machines, one of them named “Cloud Ginger” by its maker CloudMinds, which has operations in Beijing and California.

“It provided useful information, conversational engagement, entertainment with dancing, and even led patients through stretching exercises,” CloudMinds president Karl Zhao said of the humanoid robot.

“The smart field hospital was completely run by robots.”

A small medical team remotely controlled the field hospital robots. Patients wore wristbands that gathered blood pressure and other vital data.

The smart clinic only handled patients for a few days, but it foreshadowed a future in which robots tend to patients with contagious diseases while health care workers manage from safe distances.

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