While the purpose of Cedric is ultimately about the general cohabitation of spaces by man and machine in ways that benefit society, it is likely that medical care providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers will be among the first to deploy telerobots (besides the military). Motivating factors include labor shortages, excessive overhead costs and regulatory pressures to constantly improve the quality of health care and the safety of drug production.
Installing Cedric or a similarly cost-effective, intrinsically safe telemanipulator onto RP-7 or a similar mobile platform could yield a number of financial benefits and new sources of revenues for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Physicians will be empowered to use telediagnostic equipment such as a stethoscope or otoscope, add body language to verbal communications and enhance the human touch with acts as simple as pouring a glass of water or closing a window shade. Moreover, when not in use by medical staff telerobotic units could be leased by patients or residents on a pay-per-service or hourly basis to use as a mobile videophone, domestic service provider or to physically interact with televisitors.
Pairing RP-7's telepresence skills with TUG's autonomous navigation capabilities clearly opens the door to even greater cost savings. Today, RP-7 is guided to its destination by the physician using the system, a task that could be performed automatically. The transit time could now be used by the doctor to take notes or prepare for the next visit. In larger facilities with more than one telerobot, highly-efficient back-to-back meetings with patients could become a reality.
On the other hand, robotic couriers like TUG must be manually loaded and unloaded at either end of fetch and deliver tasks. Adding a telemanipulator would add flexibility to courier duties by freeing personnel from having to stop what they’re doing to load or unload the machine in order for it to move on to other jobs.