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05-14-2009

Robots that Help the Elderly

by: Todd Peterson
Robots that Help the Elderly
Rosie, the family maid on the prime-time animated sitcom the Jetsons,  was the first example of a revolution in caregiving robots to come. Today’s robots are leading the way in the fields of memory assistance, security, housekeeping, companionship and caregiving. Robots that Assist Memory On the cutting edge of elderly assisting robots is the University of Tokyo, which has developed a series of “reminder robot” prototypes. These robots are designed to help elderly people remember where they place items or what tasks they have already accomplished that day. One such robot named “Mamoru,” which means “to protect” in Japanese, watches every move its owner makes and gives a verbal alert if he or she tries to do the same activity twice. Another reminder robot monitors a room with cameras and sensors to keep track of where pre-registered objects have been placed in the room. Wouldn’t a robot like this come in handy in our daily lives? http://youtu.be/NtD2vwV61-w ApriAttenda, an amazing Japanese concept robot from Toshiba, records the experiences and memories of an elderly person for posterity. apriattenda-post Perhaps a much more practical application of robotics is the e-pill, which is an electronic pill dispenser. The Medtime XL (the creator called it a robot, so we are including it here even though it doesn’t look like one) is an easy-to-use pill robot that automatically dispenses medications, alerts the user when medicine needs to be taken and displays the appropriate dosing information. epill_2051_9401107 Taking the previous concept into the future is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Ageing Lab’s Robot Pet. Pill Pets give owners a reminder when it’s time to take a pill or go to the doctor for a checkup. If the user fails to report back to the Pill Pet after performing the task, the creature will try a more visceral reminder, such as simulating sickness or death. pillpets2 Security Robots
http://youtu.be/7vjunmO1Ogk
The Spykee robot is a mobile, self-recharging, Skype-compatible robot that allows you to spy on your home from anywhere in the world using the Internet and Skype’s free video service. Manufactured by Meccano and sold under the Erector brand, this robot is a combination of remote spy, home security monitor, mobile VOIP (voice over IP) phone and more. Fatronik Home Robot fatronik-home-robot-prototype The Fatronik Home Robot Prototype helps its owner in many ways. It assists with walking, remembering daily tasks, controlling environmental security, providing health services and communicating with people (doctor, assistant, family). The robot will also have the ability to stimulate the user emotionally, fending off loneliness and promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle for the user. Read more about the Fatronik Home Robot Prototype here. Alsok's AN-9RR Robot Pair is the Latest in Cute Security Technology for Seniors Housekeeping Robots The following video shows a robot that can clear the dishes, load a dishwasher and do a load of laundry. A real-life Rosie the housekeeper of your very own!
In this next video, iRobot Roomba lifts an amazing amount of dirt, dust, pet hair, cat litter, crumbs and other debris from your carpets and hard floors. Its features include powerful suction and rotation brushes, automatic navigation for best cleaning coverage, and self-adjusting pre-sets that allow the Roomba to go from carpets to hard floors and back again. The Roomba can clean under and around furniture, corners and wall edges. It automatically avoids stairs, drop-offs and off-limit areas, thereby preventing injuries to itself, its owners and its owner’s prized possessions. It’s also simple to use.  Just press the “Clean” button and the Roomba does the rest. http://youtu.be/CLIPLiQDIk0 Robots for Companionship A while back, ElderGadget wrote about the Paro Robot Therapy Seal Pup, which was one of the more interesting robotic creature companions appearing at the 2009 CES show in Las Vegas. It is not only fun to play with, but it is eerily reminiscent of the Tribbles from the original Star Trek TV series. It was certified by the Guinness Book Of World Records as the World’s Most Therapeutic Robot. http://youtu.be/b1HbBqZrpe8 Or perhaps a robotic pet is more up your alley? There are dogs, cats and even dinosaur robotic pets like Pleo that can keep a senior company and provide hours of entertainment. http://youtu.be/nwi-uH8I4bQ Caregiving Robots Would you let the UBOT 5 caregiving robot take care of you? And finally, meet the real WALL-E! http://youtu.be/koc6xhPM420
We certainly have come a long way from the imagined robots of the past. Now the field of robotics is changing the way healthcare and caregiving are delivered. There is already evidence that using robotics to relieve healthcare professionals of some of their burdens can improve the quality of healthcare. For a growing number of dependent elderly, it appears that robots are certainly here to stay.
     

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Comments
 
 
 
  • Lau 08-06-2010 07:05 AM
    I recently had a discussion with a government policy student about 'community care' which here is a label for the institutionalised provision (state provision mostly) of care for the needy and vulnerable which consists mainly of children and the elderly. In the UK, by 2030 it is predicted that over half of the population will be over fifty and right now there are more over 60s here than there are under 16s. I know this sounds like 'do gooder' speak but it's not about that, but having compassion for those around us. I found a good info source of contacts for help with senior care.
    <a href="http://www.mmcgcarehomes.co.uk/az.asp"Caring for the elderly
    I care for a few elderly residents in my town and it gives me such satisfaction to make then more comfortable and happy. It makes me happy you could say.
    In short (and forgive me the rant) robots cannot replace human contact that older people need when they can no longer do for themselves. In some tough I think it could prevent some older people having to go into a care home as they will have a robotic device to do some fetching, carrying etc..
     
     
  • moms mabley 05-15-2009 04:57 PM
    I think this might be the solution to me finding the perfect husband! Seriously this is a great article, and as we all live longer, hopefully in the near future robots will help to bring a better quality of life to the elderly and disabled. Very Interesting!
     
     
  • robbie 07-18-2009 09:14 AM
    interesting and useful.............
     
     
  • Lau 08-10-2010 07:03 AM
    Sorry I made a typing error with the link before

    Caring for the elderly
     
     
  • Teresa Joudrey 10-28-2009 04:48 AM
    I own an irobot roomba vacume and I love it. I would like to own their whole line of products. I have considered buyiing one for my mother but thought better of it. What some may not consider is that it has to be emptied after every use and if you are unstable on you feet, bending down to pick it up could prove challanging. They are not that light in weight.