Jiaji Yang is a research student at Cardiff Metropolitan University investigating how robots can be utilised in the healthcare industry.
The potential for Jiaji’s work to create real impact is profound as the robots could be used to assist nurses in a healthcare setting to improve and enhance the care of patients in need.
Taith was pleased to provide Pathway 1 funding for Jiaji to travel to Malaysia to work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders in order to help take this important area of research forward.
My area of research is Humanoid service robotics (HSRs) for healthcare and hospitality. In the field of healthcare, more people hope that robots can become human companions and make humans feel companionship rather than pure interaction. My research focuses on using computer digitization to endow robots with human-like intelligence and allow humans to feel in the process of interacting with the humanoid robot and be able to assist humans to better complete some simple tasks.
Just testing robots in the laboratory is not enough for my research. It is crucial to explore and receive feedback from stakeholders in the healthcare industry to truly understand how humanoid robots can play a role. Fortunately, under the guidance of Dr Esyin Chew, we have successfully developed a collaborative relationship with ALTY Hospital in Malaysia and had the opportunity to deploy real service robots in a genuine medical environment. Thanks to funding from Taith, I travelled to Malaysia for 2 weeks to investigate whether robots can be effective in the field of healthcare and become companions to humans.
This activity not only brought significant research data and materials to my research area, but also provided more collaboration opportunities for the EUREKA Robotics Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University. During this event, we witnessed how our Malaysian partner ALTY utilised HSRs to bring vitality to their healthcare community. We also gained practical insights from nurses on how robots can help them reduce repetitive workload in real-life application settings. These data not only contribute to my research on exploring the capability of humanoid robots to provide companionship in the healthcare industry, but also help me understand the genuine needs and experiences of these nurses in their work. I also provided training to the nurses and IT support who integrate the robots. I feel that my PhD work has real public impact through this opportunity.
It also allowed me to engage in research sharing and knowledge exchange with outstanding students from other renowned universities in Malaysia. Through these activities, I not only had the chance to learn about the cutting-edge research directions of other accomplished researchers, but also received their positive feedback on my own research.
Working within the real industrial environment can not only help my research to collect valuable data, but also allow me to truly understand which problems and challenges my research should focus on solving from the perspective of stakeholders such as nurses. Through the research sharing and knowledge exchange sessions, I will be able to gain insights into advanced research directions, This exposure to the work of other outstanding researchers will greatly contribute to the development of my research and expand my knowledge in the field.
These activities provide a platform for me to showcase my research and receive recognition from my peers. The positive feedback and connections established with researchers from other prestigious universities in Malaysia can potentially open doors for collaborations, publications, and future career opportunities.
The best part of my experience was witnessing the HSRs deployed at ALTY Hospital actually working alongside nurses to bring joy and assistance to patients in need. It was particularly impressive to witness the scene where a nurse, who had no experience with computers and robots, collaborating with a robot. This is a moment that will forever stay in my memory. In addition, the Welsh-Malaysia culture exchange is mind blowing to me, as a Chinese student studying in Wales.