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The contribution of I-RIM

In the weeks in which our country experienced an emergency condition never experienced before, I-RIM organized itself to ensure that robots and intelligent machines could be of concrete help to the sick, to healthcare workers, to those continued to produce in essential services, and to those who experienced difficult conditions in their homes.

The ventilators that helped SARS-Cov 2 patients are intelligent machines, just as some of the laboratories that carried out the tests on the swabs collected are highly automated. But there are many more occasions in which intelligent robots and machines could be useful, and it is our duty to do everything possible to ensure that they are helpful today, and are ready to avoid and limit similar situations in the future.

The difficulties for an intervention of the necessary scale – hundreds of hospitals, hundreds of thousands of people involved – in the very short time of the emergency were obviously enormous. The unavailability of material supplies and the logistical difficulty of bringing machines and robots to the places where they could be useful in a short time were among the major causes of this difficulty.

Nonetheless, the I-RIM community believes that by bringing together all the forces that design and produce advanced technologies, artificial intelligence and robotics in Italy, Europe and the world, useful contributions can be made.

The concrete actions that I-RIM, in coalition with other actors, has implemented are three:

  1. The needs : collection of information on the requests and needs of healthcare workers, of those who produce, of those who have remained isolated at home, to live and work in greater safety, with better results, or even to experience such a dramatic moment better psychologically;
  2. Short-term answers : a collection of simple and well-documented projects, achievable with devices easily available even at that moment, and software made available free of charge by research centers, which could be assembled and used by non-specialized personnel to solve concrete problems in the local realities of our provinces;
  3. Pilot Projects : examples of technological demonstrators, tested in the clinical field or in support of the response to Covid-19, which could develop into products with a high level of technological readiness and made available for general use in the medium term.

At the end of phase 1 of the Covid-19 emergency, the workshop “Our… robots are arriving” took place on 28 May 2020, focusing on robotics at the service of the community, organized by Andrea Zanchettin, Federica Pascucci and Gianluca Antonelli, in collaboration with IEEE RAS – Italian Chapter. The video of the workshop is available here :

I-RIM’s activities in contrast to the effects of the pandemic continued in phase two of the progressive reopening of society and the resumption of economic and productive activities, in which robotics and intelligent machines were able to play an even more incisive role than in the past .

The activities were carried out with the contribution of: