As a science fiction fanatic, movies that speculate about the future and depict how robots will be used fascinate me. Some of them describe robots as dumb mechanical machines while others merge them with artificial intelligence. All of their ideas may still become reality.
1) Ender’s Game
One of the iconic sci-fi books meant to be on the big screen, Ender’s Game features a surgical robot performing brain surgery on one of the lead characters. The robot was actually designed by Blake Hannaford and his biorobotics team at the University of Washington, which means it was as realistic as possible.
2) Revenge of the Sith
In the third episode of Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker is seriously burnt and loses his legs. Robot surgeons work on him while he is in great pain, enclosing him in Darth Vader’s infamous black armor. Though the robots take good care of the protagonist, why he isn’t anesthetized is anyone’s guess.
The Alien prequel featured a surgical robot performing major operations without human control and David, the highly sophisticated android with artificial intelligence. The makers of the movie also released an imaginary advertisement showing why someone in the future might want to buy such robots.
The British television series gives a clear picture about a possible future when robot companions live with us. Some robots are depicted as healthcare professionals that can take care of the elderly at their homes. They have pre-programmed protocols and were designed to make sure their charges live a healthy life and get instant help in emergencies. To do so, these robots can measure any health parameters and vital sign by looking at the patient or touching them for a second. They have all of the patient’s medical records which they keep private.
In our aging society, it is going to be more and more challenging to take care of the elderly population. The movie focuses on a robot with artificial intelligence that can do this job in an almost human way. An elderly man becomes friends with the robot, even though it does not look like a human being.
6) Big Hero 6
The animated movie talks about how we could measure health parameters at home. It features Baymax, the inflatable healthcare companion robot that works as a medical assistant. It describes living with robots in a cute way, focusing on how they could provide empathy instead of the technological barriers to creating them.
7) Dr Easy
This short film starts with Michael, a broken man with a gun, surrounded by armed police. A robot with medical training is dispatched to negotiate. It measures his fear hormones and other quantifiable parameters. But most of all, it tries to persuade the man not to harm himself.
The TARS robot is an excellent and very unique representation of how a robot armed with artificial intelligence could help us in the future. Its design, the way it interacts with his human companions and the fact that its personality, including honesty and humor levels can be set manually make it the most mature depiction of the future of robots.
The robot GERTY works closely with the character played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell and possesses artificial intelligence. It takes care of Sam Bell, the lead character, when he is injured. It does even more, but I won’t spoil this unique movie for you.
So the future could look bright for medical robots, but what are today’s robots capable of?
- A telemedical machine developed by Intouch Health walks around in the clinic and streams a doctor’s face and sound from continents away.
- The humanoid Petman developed by Boston Dynamics can already move boxes and walk on difficult terrain.
- The daVinci surgical robot is controlled entirely by humans, but makes previously unthinkable precision surgery possible.
- The Xenex robot that uses ultraviolet light to kill up to 70 percent of bacteria in hospital rooms in just 12 minutes.
Today’s technology is already amazing, but if only half of what science fiction tells us about the future of robots becomes reality, we are facing exciting times in medicine.