Researchers exploring how robots could transform healthcare have received nearly £1 million to help develop new technologies.
The funding will allow the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) to develop four new robots and investigate how they could be used in different areas of the healthcare system.
The centre, a joint initiative between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, was awarded the cash by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Professor David Lane, of Heriot-Watt University, said: “The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics is a unique collaboration designed to test the feasibility of applying robotic solutions to many real-world scenarios and challenges. This funding provides a further boost to our available technology capital.
“Part of this investment will support our research into affordable, robot-assisted surgical and diagnostic devices that can benefit the NHS, as well as be used as solutions for global health challenges.
“We use our living labs in the robotarium and the real world to turn these research ideas into economic success stories.
“Robots are set to revolutionise our economy and society over the next 20 years as they start to work for us and beside us, assisting us and interacting with us.”
The funding is part of a wider £6.5 million investment in the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network.
EPSRC chief executive Professor Philip Nelson said: “For several decades, EPSRC has been at the forefront of supporting the UK’s research, training and innovation in robotics, automation and artificial intelligence systems, and has been instrumental in fostering interdisciplinary partnerships between academics, industry, government and other parties.
“Throughout the world, however, from the United States to South Korea, China to Japan, governments are investing billions of dollars into these new technologies.
“We are punching above our weight against this global competition but we cannot afford to slow the momentum.
“These investments are vital for continuing the pipeline that transforms research into products and services.”