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The IoT robotics field unlocks new advances in cooperative learning among robots -- or even among robots and humans -- where robots learn from each other and evolve their behaviors through shared experiences and IoT data.
Independently, IoT and robotics serve similar roles to achieve different ends. IoT sensors collect data and communicate information to a processing device that has a dedicated task, such as controlling the temperature in an office or monitoring motion for security applications.
Robotics uses sensors to help control their actions and motion paths, such as to detect a wall or an object they are tasked to manipulate. IoT primarily focuses on pervasive sensing, while robot systems automate production or execute tasks that require interaction in hazardous situations such as facilities with heavy machinery or chemicals.
With advancements in AI, organizations can combine IoT sensors and robotics in new ways, sometimes called the Internet of Robotic Things. IoT robotics uses vast amounts of sensor data in AI algorithms from many disparate sources to expand robot sensing capabilities far beyond their current embedded sensors.
The use of low-cost, powerful edge computing means robots can analyze and process large amounts of data to make informed real-time decisions based on trained AI models. The robots execute decisions directly on the onboard processor embedded in the robot system, rather than communicate data back and forth to the cloud.
IoT robotics ensure workplace safety
Organizations have used robotics for automation in manufacturing production for years. In the workplace, IoT robotics can add additional safety precautions where humans work collaboratively with powerful industrial robots. Machines have the potential to inflict harm when failures or unanticipated conditions arise, like jams or flying objects.
Robots with IoT informed AI models can better detect and predict machine failures. IoT devices that constantly monitor the presence of human counterparts communicate to the robot their location information to ensure safe operations. The combination of IoT and robots provides redundancies to ensure that safety prevails, even during instances of human operator error.
Robots prevent the spread of infection
The uses of IoT robotics expand as the technologies advance and will open new opportunities in healthcare, especially in response to the novel coronavirus.
Every healthcare provider and organization requires contactless technologies to keep people safe and provide early contamination detection of product and infections in people. IoT robotics uses a variety of sensors embedded in workspaces and health monitoring sensors to better analyze and improve disinfecting protocols, while robots perform contactless disinfection of areas and objects.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how vulnerable healthcare workers are to infection while they monitor their patients. Future IoT robots could go into patient rooms, perform measurements and gather information from new IoT sensing technologies, such as imaging that looks at patient breathing or audio recording to listen cough severity. When the robot's task is completed, it could self-disinfect and provide AI-driven observations to healthcare workers to enhance their knowledge and decision-making.
The scenarios and experiences the robots encounter build the healthcare industry's collective knowledge to develop improved diagnosis or treatments of diseases. IoT robotics can isolate specific sources of contamination from frequently touched objects or food contaminations.