"Look beneath the fears that fracture our society," says Dustin Abnet, "and you're likely to find a robot lurking there."

Even during a global health crisis such as COVID-19, robots — or at least desires for them — are present. Whether they are delivery robots that bring necessary supplies, medical robots that help diagnose and treat infectious diseases, or even companion robots that serve more intimate needs, robots offer the promise of a technological solution for the dangers of human contact and the isolation of social distancing, says the Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of American studies and author of "The American Robot."