Robots can help seniors age in place. Following are examples of robots that perform tasks, communicate, and notify loved ones in emergencies.
Toyota’s Human Support Robot program’s current robot prototype is compact and highly maneuverable, with a folding arm which can pick up objects off the floor, and bring things down from shelves, among other tasks. It will be able to be operated remotely by caregivers, with the operator’s face and voice being relayed in real time.
RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko’s nursing care robot, called Robear, can lift a person from a bed into a wheelchair, or help him/her start up. It is designed to exert force gently, including actuator units with a low gear ratio that allow for softer movement of robotic joints, and tactile, rubber sensors to lift patients.
The GiraffPlus robot works with smart home technologies Environmental sensors provide movement data, alerting carers of falls, and physiological sensors track health metrics, such as blood pressure.
Fraunhofer’s Care-O-bot can perform a number of fetch-and-carry tasks; entertain and communicate – reminding an elderly person of important appointments, or when to take their medication – and respond to an emergency. It is able to move towards a fallen person, while communicating with an emergency center, which can talk to the user by video, using the robot’s screen, speakers and microphone.
The Bristol Robotics Laboratory has developed a a “living lab” with smart home functionality. Robotics researchers, seniors with assistive needs and those supporting them to work together to create and test home robotic solutions. The Anchor Robotics Personalized Assisted Living facility is connected via a network of wireless sensors and Wi-fi cameras to a central controller. Data generated from the sensors will enable the researchers to detect patterns of activity in the house to build adaptable algorithms. The algorithms will then be used to record individual habits and devise personalized robotic systems adapted to individual lifestyles.
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