The robots are coming... to make our lives easier.
In 2016, Hanson Robotics took the world by storm with Sophia, who was famously given Saudi Arabian citizenship. Now, the Hong Kong-based robotics firm has unveiled its latest invention: Grace, a humanoid robot it hopes will revolutionize healthcare.
Designed as an assistant for doctors, Grace is equipped with sensors, including a thermal camera to detect a patient's temperature and pulse, to help doctors diagnose illness and deliver treatments.
The android is a companion for patients, too. Specializing in senior care, Grace speaks three languages -- English, Mandarin, and Cantonese -- and can socialize and conduct talk therapy.
Robots like Grace are intended as a support for medical professionals rather than a replacement, says Hanson Robotics founder and CEO David Hanson.
"Using AI and robotics in this context can help gather important data for healthcare providers to assess the wellbeing of the patient," he adds.
Developed specifically for the medical sector, Grace's launch comes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic when there has been increased demand for telehealth solutions and contactless care. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), global sales of medical robots were already on the rise before the pandemic, up 28% between 2018 and 2019 -- and the IFR predicts the sector's value could nearly double in the next three years.
Hanson Robotics says it will begin mass-producing robots, including Sophia and Grace, at the end of 2021.