Building Robots That Save Lives
— Robotics, Service Robots, Health Care — 4 min read
Meet Ajay Vishnu
Founder @ Jetbrain Robotics
Ajay Vishnu is the founder of Jetbrain Robotics which is into providing robotic solutions for various industries. Their first product is a medicine transportation robot for multi-specialty hospitals.
A technology lover by heart, Ajay dropped out of engineering to pursue his passion earlier than his peers.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Ajay has had a corporate experience of 7+ years, delivering technology solutions.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Robotics?
Service robots, as the name suggests, are robots that provide a service (or services) to human beings.
Organizations may deploy them to improve their existing services, reduce the burden on their human staff, or simply to provide a new experience to their customers.
Service robots have various applications, be it in everyday industries like healthcare, hospitality, retail, or more demanding ones like the agriculture, defense, or space industries.
Be it to counter the problem of the aging population in some countries or do dangerous tasks which a human could avoid - Service Robots have proved to have a multitude of applications.
What is the difference between service and industrial Robots?
Industrial Robots work on pre-defined conditions and usually only focus on increasing throughput.
Although we may not see them daily, the ultra-fast and convenient deliveries that we get with online shopping today, for example, will have one of these robots enabling the supply chain.
Service Robots, however, differ both in terms of their environment and objectives. They are designed to exist among us move along us, interact with us, and help us.
These robots work with a lot more variables and are mostly unguided in terms of operation. They are also more aesthetically pleasing than their industrial counterparts.
How JetBrain works using Robotics in health care?
We started the company after initial interest from some big hospitals in India. Our first product was an autonomous medicine transportation robot - AMRO.
It was supposed to deliver medicines from the basement pharmacy to the nursing counters on each floor (a common scenario in multi-specialty hospitals).
We struggled a lot in figuring out the payload, maneuverability, encoders, obstacle avoidance, navigation algorithms for so long that we realized the crux of our solution was the autonomous navigation.
And so we should actually build a modular platform which allows for multiple use cases, medicine delivery being one of them.
So we built Core-0, our generic autonomous platform where the use cases go on top as additional modules.
When we put our robots on the field, we noticed, visitors were asking it questions related to the hospital, Doctors wanted to know how it could help them, Patients wanting to get quick help in lieu of nurses, etc.
To address these, we built ARYA - An autonomous patient care assistant. It has built-in vision & speech capabilities thus making interactions possible.
Currently, owing to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve joined hands with Solaris Disinfection Inc, a growing company based out of Canada.
Their technology uses industry-leading pulsed UV light to rapidly and reliably eliminate bacteria. Our next product should be on the market very soon.
How close are we to have humanoid service robots between us?
Humanoid robots are closer than we imagine, now more than ever. With devices like Alexa, Siri, or Google being an everyday thing, we as humans are already ready for the next step.
But I think humanoid service robots specifically, will be more prominent in places where they deal directly more with emotions and people say, for example, old age or patient care.
We understand machines, we do not expect them to do only what’s programmed. We react differently with robots when we look at them like machines vs when they bear some human (or animal) resemblance.
So in a way, almost all service robots with some form of intelligence will eventually look like a living thing - Not necessarily a Humanoid.
How do you see th
How do you see the future of service robotics in the next 5 years?
Service robots are a booming industry with a lot of players looking to enter it, now especially due to the pandemic.
Until very recently, these robots remained out of reach in terms of affordability, for the masses. And this was more cause of scale than anything else.
Within the next 5 years, Service Robots are going to be common, more affordable and usable by all.
The shift will be visible, as it’ll more of a novelty in the beginning. But eventually, people would demand Quality of Service from the Robots as well.
I think that’s the phase where companies would start working on AI to actually create human-level intelligence.
How Service Robots could help hospitals in the middle of a Pandemic?
Service Robots could be extremely useful during this pandemic.
The entire premise of staying away from each other, keeping minimal or no human to human contact, begs the question of how we’d be able to do what we did before the pandemic. Robots happen to be the only answer.
For example, in Hospitals alone, exposure of humans workers could be minimized by using service robots to:
Do contactless delivery of food, medicines and other critical items
Perform detections like temperature or swab scans
Provide a means to monitor diseased patients
Interact and provide support to diseased patients
Similarly for other industries.
In fact, even post-COVID, the applications of contactless and automated tasks could be the new norm for restaurants, retail, airports, banks, etc.
How do you see yourself in the next 10 years in the robotics industry?
If this was to be the revolution of automobiles, we see ourselves as the Ford or GM, 10 years down the line. Our goal is to usher in the change that was so long due to Humans.
Service Robots in various forms will bring in the required change for us to get things done faster, safer, and more efficient.