Recent technological advancements in robotics and automation have been truly remarkable. For example, Boston Dynamics has successfully created Atlas, a robot that can probably beat you at a game of tag with its incredible parkour ability.

Artificial intelligence has differentiated itself as one of the major trends that will shape the future of robotics and automation. Other themes for the next decade in robot technology will be reliability, autonomy, and responsiveness.

The applications for robots extend far beyond manufacturing assembly lines. Here we explore how robotics will intersect with our lives in unexpected ways.

Rescue efforts and medicine

Scientists and engineers have made significant strides in creating robots with the ability to swim, having potentially life-saving applications.

These robots, such as EMILY (Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard) can be deployed on rescue missions in areas that are inaccessible or dangerous to humans. Another notable example is nanorobots that can swim in a person’s bloodstream to facilitate the elimination of harmful toxins and deliver drugs to hard-to-reach areas of the body.

Education

The popularity of online learning has shown how innovation has been transformative for education. The advancement of robotics promises to illustrate this even further.

In the near future, robot teaching assistants will become commonplace, helping to alleviate the need for teachers in areas where they are scarce. Systems’ ability to develop empathy through the power of artificial intelligence will be a determining factor in the success of robotics’ integration with teaching.

Home assistance

Innovation has always been motivated by the prospect of better serving us humans. The Internet of Things is by far one of the most important tech innovations in recent years. Even by using Amazon’s Alexa for a few minutes is enough to experience its powerful potential.

In the near future, home robots and smart home appliances will all work seamlessly together. Robotic assistants may replace maids, with the ability to clean, cook, and maintain the home. Cloud technology would allow these robots to learn new skills and improve on anticipating our needs.

Manufacturing and prosthetics

By far, one of the coolest upgrades coming to the human species is the ability to wear exoskeletons. This robotic gear increases your strength, improves your balance and greatly reduces physical limitations that hinder many.

Right now, these exoskeletons are already boosting worker performance in the manufacturing industry. For example, in August 2018, Ford gave EksoVest exoskeletons to 75 workers at 15 of its factories globally, following successful trials of the technology. Exoskeletons are also being produced for paraplegics and other individuals with disabilities. As wearable tech improves and becomes more accessible, we may even expect it to play an increasingly important role in athletics.

Policing

This trend is already a prominent part of the robotics industry. Robots are very useful for surveying and securing property. But, robots can do more than passively monitor for criminal activity.

Robot police may one day be able to respond to and trigger certain systems based on a particular threat. Artificial intelligence within identification systems will work to reduce the number of mistakes that can occur within police work.

Investing in innovation

Robotics is one of many tech trends captivating the interest of investors, given the promising developments taking place in this sector and the opportunity for diversification it provides.

The Evolve Innovation Index ETF (EDGE) gives investors exposure to a number of key players in robotics and automation, among other emerging industries.

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