(Darren Dugan) #1

Airport service slowed due to airline
cancellations and delays were reported
after the control tower closure on March 18.
McCarran ranks as one of the busiest passenger
airports in the nation. But arriving flights were
reduced Monday to about 12 an hour. Federal
officials reported Tuesday that a security
screener at McCarran also tested positive
for COVID-19.

ROBOTS: Where are the robots that can disinfect
hospitals and supermarkets, swab patients and
provide relief to medical workers and others
overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

There aren’t any, or, at least, not enough of them,
according to engineers and computer scientists
calling for more sustained funding for building
machines that can perform important tasks
during an infectious disease outbreak.

A group of leading robotics experts published
an appeal Wednesday in the academic journal
Science Robotics calling for more research
and development of robots that can assist in
critical care, telemedicine, decontamination and
package delivery.

A similar call came from the White House
six years ago looking for robots that could
help fight the Ebola outbreak. But as
global concern over Ebola subsided, so too
did funding and motivation to develop
new machines.

“Without a sustained approach to this, history
will repeat itself and the robots won’t be ready”
for the next pandemic, said Guang-Zhong Yang,
founding editor of Science Robotics and dean
of the Institute of Medical Robotics at Shanghai
Jiao Tong University.

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