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Revolutionizing Healthcare with Teleoperated Robots: Extend Robotics' Demonstration in a UK Pharmacy

In recent years, teleoperated robots have emerged as a promising solution for remote supervision and task execution in healthcare. Extend Robotics, a UK-based startup, has been at the forefront of developing teleoperated robots that are adaptable to different types of applications. In a recent video demonstration, Extend Robotics showcased its teleoperation robot in action at a UK pharmacy, highlighting the robot's capabilities and the potential benefits it could bring to the healthcare industry for remote supervision and task execution in pharmacies.

What is supervision?

‘Supervision’ is the term used in Regulation 220 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, which says that a person must not sell a medicinal product unless that person is a pharmacist, or unless “the transaction is carried out on [the person’s] behalf by another person, that other person is, or acts under the supervision of, a pharmacist”. However, there are many interpretations of what this means in practice.

One of the most impressive features of Extend Robotics' teleoperation robot is its human-robot interface software. This software allows a human operator to control the robot remotely and provide specific commands and instructions. What sets this software apart is its intuitiveness and ease of use, allowing even non-experts to operate the robot with ease.

The human-robot interface software is designed to work with off-the-shelf VR equipment, which makes it easier to deploy and use in a variety of settings. The operator can immerse themselves in a virtual environment that provides a real-time view of the robot's surroundings, enabling them to navigate the robot through the pharmacy shelves, identify specific medications, and pick them up with precision.

In addition to the virtual environment, the software also visualizes haptic information. The robot's arm is equipped with sensors that provide haptic feedback to the operator, allowing them to feel the resistance and weight of the medication, further enhancing the precision and accuracy of the picking process. The haptic feedback is visualized in the VR environment, providing the operator with a more immersive and intuitive experience.

The versatility of Extend Robotics' software also allows it to operate a wide range of third-party robot hardware, making it adaptable to different types of applications. This versatility allows the robot to be deployed in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and remote or rural areas where access to medical care is limited.

A previous demonstration using a mobile manipulator robot used in care home has been performed.

The potential benefits of teleoperated robots in healthcare are vast, from improving patient care to reducing costs and improving efficiency. With advancements in technology and software, teleoperated robots have the potential to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered, providing patients with better care and improving the quality of life for people around the world.

Overall, Extend Robotics' teleoperation robot demonstration in a UK pharmacy highlights the potential of robotics and automation in healthcare. The utilization of off-the-shelf VR equipment and the visualization of haptic information further enhance the intuitiveness of the human-robot interface software, making it a promising solution for the future of healthcare.

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