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Rob Auton Syst ; 148: 103922, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550056


This article analyses data collected from press reports, social media, and the scientific literature on 338 instances of robots used explicitly in response to COVID-19 from 24 Jan, 2020, to 23 Jan, 2021, in 48 countries. The analysis was guided by four overarching questions: (1) What were robots used for in the COVID-19 response? (2) When were they used? (3) How did different countries innovate? and 4) Did having a national policy on robotics influence a country's innovation and insertion of robotics for COVID-19? The findings indicate that robots were used for six different sociotechnical work domains and 29 discrete use cases. When robots were used varied greatly on the country; although many countries did report an increase at the beginning of their first surge. To understand the findings of how innovation occurred, the data was examined through the lens of the technology's maturity according to NASA's Technical Readiness Assessment metrics. Through this lens, findings note that existing robots were used for more than 78% of the instances; slightly modified robots made up 10%; and truly novel robots or novel use cases constituted 12% of the instances. The findings clearly indicate that countries with a national robotics initiative were more likely to use robotics more often and for broader purposes. Finally, the dataset and analysis produces a broad set of implications that warrant further study and investigation. The results from this analysis are expected to be of value to the robotics and robotics policy community in preparing robots for rapid insertion into future disasters.

Hum Factors ; 62(7): 1061-1068, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-639000


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify opportunities for application of human factors knowledge base to mitigate disaster management (DM) challenges associated with the unique characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic. BACKGROUND: The role of DM is to minimize and prevent further spread of the contagion over an extended period of time. This requires addressing large-scale logistics, coordination, and specialized training needs. However, DM-related challenges during the pandemic response and recovery are significantly different than with other kinds of disasters. METHOD: An expert review was conducted to document issues relevant to human factors and ergonomics (HFE) in DM. RESULTS: The response to the COVID-19 crisis has presented complex and unique challenges to DM and public health practitioners. Compared to other disasters and previous pandemics, the COVID-19 outbreak has had an unprecedented scale, magnitude, and propagation rate. The high technical complexity of response and DM coupled with lack of mental model and expertise to respond to such a unique disaster has seriously challenged the response work systems. Recent research has investigated the role of HFE in modeling DM systems' characteristics to improve resilience, accelerating emergency management expertise, developing agile training methods to facilitate dynamically changing response, improving communication and coordination among system elements, mitigating occupational hazards including guidelines for the design of personal protective equipment, and improving procedures to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of response efforts. CONCLUSION: This short review highlights the potential for the field's contribution to proactive and resilient DM for the ongoing and future pandemics.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disaster Planning/methods , Emergency Medical Services/methods , Ergonomics/methods , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Communication , Emergency Responders , Guideline Adherence , Health Services Needs and Demand , Humans , Inservice Training , Interdisciplinary Communication , Intersectoral Collaboration , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment