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Essay: How can the developments in robots and AI help a person after a serious car accident?

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This paper, as said above is about how AI and robots can help a victim of a serious traffic accident, form life support, until living with it at home, after a long recovery. To research this topic, we made a couple of sub questions. These sub questions are listed below. We, the researchers, are: Vy Tran, Katarzyna Stróżykowska, Luuk Cloosterman and Dylan Cornelisse. We are students at Saxion University of Applied Sciences, at the study: HBO-IT software engineering, year one. We hope that you, the reader, will learn something from this report.


The objective of this report is to discover how the current developments in IT can help a person after a serious traffic accident. We are going to do this by searching for answers on our main and sub questions.

We want to achieve this, because we are interested in the current developments, and we think future traffic accident victims can be helped better. To narrow the research down we made sub questions. These sub questions are:

  • What developments are happening at AI and healthcare?
  • What is the impact from robots on healthcare?
  • Is the quality and price of healthcare going to change due to AI and robots?
  • Are surgical robots safe?
  • How are diagnostics going to change due to AI and robots?


For this research paper to be considered successful it needs to meet certain requirements, the main criteria it needs to meet is answering the question “How can the developments in robots and AI help a person after a serious car accident?”. To answer that question, we need to answer the aforementioned sub-questions. With the attained information from those we can answer our main research-question. Our group of four will work together and use the research methods described in a later section of this research paper to acquire the necessary information.


How can the developments in robots and AI help a person after a serious car accident?


What developments are happening at AI and healthcare?

To answer this sub-question, we first must explore what AI is. So, here is a short introduction to AI.

AI means Artificial intelligence. Over the meaning of the term “Artificial intelligence is a bit of discussion by scientist. Some say that it means that a computer program acts and reacts as a human, while others believe it means that a computer program does things it is intended to do, without specifically asked so.

Something scientist agree about is that there are two types of AI: General AI and Narrow AI. The basic difference is that Narrow AI performs one task, like organizing a calendar, or keeping a car between the lines. General AI is way broader, but it isn’t really in use yet. What it can be used for in the future is robots that can perform a great number of tasks, like: driving a car and also be a stock trader, while also being your personal wardrobe manager. The form of AI we’re focusing on in this report is Narrow AI.

So, with that out of the way, here are some things that are happening in AI at the moment, related to healthcare.

  1. The main thing that people talk about, and where a lot of research is done at the moment is robot caretakers. These robots can be a solution for the shortage in healthcare staff. The robots take over basic functions of the nurses, so they can fit more difficult tasks into the day. These robots are also used in elderly homes, where they do the same tasks as in hospitals, but they also try to make the life of the elderly less lonely.
  2. In May 2018, Microsoft made free 25 Million US dollars for a program called AI for accessibility. This program is focused on giving AI builders who focus on creating an AI for people who are disabled trough any way, help in the form of money and knowledge about AI. It does not matter what kind of disability the AI is mad for, this can be a born handicap, but it can also be for people who need help after a traffic accident.
  3. Googles DeepMind is being used in the UK, to give an indication what areas in the country are most likely to get what diseases and make predictions. This way, the healthcare system in the United Kingdom can be optimized.
  4. IBM is putting their Watson platform to use in collaboration with CVS, an American retail pharmacy to work on Chronic disease treatment. They do this by collecting data from the individual. This data is then given to the AI, which can predict the condition of the patient. This way, doctors can be prepared what’s coming, and maybe prevent worsening of the patient’s condition.

What is the impact of robots on healthcare?

According to Oxford English Dictionary, robot is a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of action automatically. The origin of robotics was in the science-fiction literature. The term „Robot” comes from a Czech word “robota” and means “forced labour”. This word was used first by writer Josef Capek. His brother Karel Capek used that word to describe in his novel a revolution of robots and the threat to humanity. Word “robot” became more and more popular but was known for people only from literature. Around fifty years ago robots moved from science fictions to reality. In 60’s first autonomous robot “Unimate” was implemented in General Motors. Slowly robots became common. Currently robots are everywhere. They help people not only in dangerous work, but also in everyday life.

One of the fields, where we can find robots, is medical world. There are different types of robots like for example surgery robots, laboratory robots, hospital robots or rehabilitation robots. They are used to perform surgeries in tine places, relief personnel in routine tasks or monitor patient vital statistics.

The number of robots in healthcare is increasing rapidly. They are used by people mainly because they can perform task at high speed, reliable and without mistakes. What is more, they are stronger that people and they can assist in the lifting or changing a position of a patient. Duo to the fact that they can work 24/7, they are used also as robotic medical assistants. These robots monitor patient vital statistics (for example pulse) and alert the nurses when something is wrong.

The biggest impact on healthcare robots still have working as surgeons. It is more common that robots become the surgeon’s hands or conduct the surgery and doctors work only as assistants.

Is the quality and price of healthcare going to change due to AI and robots?

a. The benefits of current medical robots

To patients

  • Reduce blood loss, trauma
  • Reduce pain
  • Smaller incisions
  • Faster recovery time and shorter hospital stay
  • Take care by robotic nurse
  • The power of exoskeletons

To surgeons or doctors

  • Reduce total surgery time
  • Surgical precision: greater precision and safety, flexibility.
  • The benefits of micro robots and nanobots
  • Great facility of use and easy to implement

To health establishments (hospitals)

  • Meet infection requirements: ex. Disinfectant robot

b. The expected benefits from medical robots in the near future

As robotic development is growing so fast, new generations of surgical robots have been being introduced with more outstanding features than the previous models. Surgical robots enabled with AI are increasingly assisting microsurgical procedures to help reduce surgeon variations that could affect patient recovery.

c. The cost of robotic medical treatment is expected to reduce due to new technologies.

Since it is a potential sector, there are more and more new providers joining this market, offering new robots with competitive prices for the similar features.

Are surgical robots safe?

The answer to this question consists of two parts, namely autonomous robots and robots controlled by humans.

Autonomous robots are not in use yet in surgical theaters because AI is just not advanced enough yet. “Hardware would, for example, need positional sensors and safety stops to prevent accidents,” professor Sanja Dogramadzi from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory told The Guardian “The software would have to be able to work on many different levels at the same time – what the scalpel was doing, what was going on with the auxiliary staff in the operating theatre – then bring it all together to make a decision. This is a big challenge.” Robots would need to be able to think and learn just as humans do to make it possible and actually safe. The advancements in AI are currently not on that level yet. Another problem would be in the way of cybersecurity. A robot performing surgery security is of absolute importance because if it were to be hacked for example, it could lead to fatal incidents. There is also the ethical problem of who is responsible if something does go wrong. And finally, the problem of patient’s reaction, a lot of people would not be as comfortable with surgery is it was done by an autonomous robot as opposed to a human surgeon. A few full autonomous robot surgeries have been performed successful, it is far from widespread used. So autonomous robots and in particular AI have a long way to go for them to be considered actually safe.

Human controlled robots on the other hand those factors don’t really apply because in the end the surgeon is still in control. The first robot assisted surgery was performed in 1985. In 2000 the da Vinci Surgical System was created to facilitate a minimal invasive approach for complex surgeries. The surgeon controls the robot arms via a console. Because of the extra precision that the robot arms give the surgeon the incisions made in the patient can be much smaller, thus decreasing the post-surgery recovery time of the patients. Currently these robots are primarily used for abdominal surgeries, but developments are currently happening for orthopedic use, were robots can assist in setting broken bones for example. Being able to do this accurately, fast and safely, while also not having to make a large incision would be very helpful after an accident. A big stalling point for this to become more widespread applicable is the cost of such robots, the da Vinci Surgical System costs just shy of $2 million for example, which is just too expensive for most hospitals.

So, to answer the question whether surgical robots safe? It depends, autonomous robots are not on an advanced enough level yet to be considered entirely safe. Human controlled robots on the other hand are already being safely used to perform certain surgeries and the type of surgeries they can be used in will expand further. The cost of these robots does need to go down to be used in more hospitals.

How are diagnostics going to change due to AI and robots?

Research methods

Literature study:

Reading research done by other people.

Document analysis:

Documentary analysis is qualitative research in which documents are reviewed by the analyst to assess an appraisal theme.


Observing how a task is performed or how developments that are or need to happen.

Availability research:

Research what product or services are available now.

Gap analysis:

Analysis of how the current situation is and the desired situation.

Explore user requirements:

See what the user desires of a product or service.






  • What is AI? https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-ai-everything-you-need-to-know-about-artificial-intelligence/
  • Current developments in AI: https://www.koombea.com/blog/7-recent-ai-developments/
  • Robot caretakers: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/23/technology/robot-nurse-zora.html
  • AI for accessibility: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-for-accessibility
  • overall source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence_in_healthcare
  • IBM CVS collaboration https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2015/07/30/cvs-and-ibms-watson-partner-to-predict-patient-health-needs/#65eecf322d0e
  • history and future of robotic surgery https://www.roboticoncology.com/history-of-robotic-surgery/
  • robot-assisted surgery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot-assisted_surgery
  • da Vinci Surgical System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Da_Vinci_Surgical_System
  • the guardian: Medical Robots https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/10/medical-robots-surgery-trust-future
  • Definition of ‘robot’. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
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  • Capek K (1923) The Meaning of R.U.R. Saturday Review July 21, 136:79
  • https://medicalfuturist.com/robotics-healthcare
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  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6028471/
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  • http://www.medtech.fr/en/rosa-brain
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  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fnv_3qn3Yc


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