Part of a larger smart-home environment
A highly customisable robot companion designed by EU-funded researchers to offer support to older people is currently being presented across Europe and could find its way into people’s homes within two or three years, potentially greatly enhancing quality of life for older citizens and people with memory or mobility problems.
The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favourite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while. As part of a larger smart-home environment that can include smart clothing to monitor vital signs, the system can monitor user’s health and safety, and alert emergency services if something is amiss.
‘Across Europe, populations are growing older, and many people need care in some way. Care may be provided by professionals at home or in a care facility, but often the caregiver is the person’s partner or another family member. What we are seeing is that carers may also need additional support themselves, especially if they are also older – our vision is that technology can provide it,’ explains Mr Herjan van den Heuvel of Smart Homes, the Dutch Expertise Centre on Home Automation and Smart Living, which oversaw the robot’s development.
The median age across the European Union’s current 28 Member States, which was around 41.2 years in 2011, is projected to rise to 47.6 years by 2060, while the number of people aged 65 and over will almost double to make up 29.5 % of the population, according to Eurostat’s latest population projections. Meanwhile, the percentage of people aged 80 and above is expected to triple by 2060.
With age-related illnesses also set to increase in line with that trend, more and more people across Europe will need care and assistance if they are to maintain their quality of life, stay healthy and avoid social exclusion.
Developed over 33 months by a consortium of research institutes, universities and technology companies in seven European countries – Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – the companion robot helps address those issues. It is just one of several results of an EU-funded project titled ‘An integrated intelligent home environment for the provision of health, nutrition and well-being services to older adults’ ( MOBISERV), which received EUR 2.75 million in research funding from the European Commission.
Smart homes, smart clothes and smart support
‘This has been a very broad project, we’ve worked not only on the robot but also integrating it with a smart-home system and with smart clothes,’ Mr Van den Heuvel notes.
Smart fabrics – which can take the form of wearable garments or even bed sheets – include a variety of tiny light-weight wireless sensors to monitor vital signs or sleeping patterns, and can even detect if the wearer falls over. Meanwhile, the smart-home environment consist of smart sensors, optical recognition units, and home automation elements, to detect, amongst other things, eating and drinking patterns, activity patterns, and dangerous situations.
‘The system can be used in its entirety for someone who needs extensive care, or only some components of it can be used to suit the needs of each individual. The technology can therefore be applied in a modular and flexible way,’ Mr Van den Heuvel says.
He notes, however, that the robot is probably the most eye-catching and innovative element of the system.
Based on state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and robotics technologies, the MOBISERV robot companion is designed above all to offer cognitive support to users, offering reminders and suggestions to help them lead healthy and socially active lives.
‘It lacks arms so it’s not going to make you coffee but it is going to suggest that maybe you would like a coffee or some other drink if you haven’t drunk anything in a while,’ Mr Van den Heuvel explains.
By monitoring user’s behaviour, the robot can learn to approach users at appropriate times, talk to them or provide information via a touchscreen interface. Users can respond by talking back or using the touchscreen. It can offer suggestions such as ‘Are you feeling hungry?’, ‘Hey, don’t forget to take your pills in the blue box’ or ‘How about calling your friend today?’
‘The way the robot behaves, what it says, how it says it, even the tone of voice can be customised for each person,’ Mr Van den Heuvel says.
Crucially, the MOBISERV team created an easy-to-use interface to configure the robot so a carer, partner, family member – or someone else who knows the user well – can personalise it for their individual needs and preferences, setting everything from the robot and user’s name to the user’s preferred drink, their friends and the type of character the robot should have. In the future, the researchers also envision being able to customise the design and colour of the robot.
The Latest on: Personalised robot
- Don't expect a personal robot butler any time soon on January 22, 2018 at 9:33 am
Before the Consumer Electronics Show opens to all its attendees, there’s a press day in which many of the bigger manufacturers put on elaborate productions to show off their new products, announce new partnerships, and give us a glimpse into their future ... […]
- Personal Robot Servants are Coming to Your Home on January 22, 2018 at 4:07 am
Finding comedy in everything and everything in comedy. interrobang, in·ter·ro·bang [in-ter-uh-bang] ‽ (often represented by ?! / !?), is a nonstandard punctuation designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a ... […]
- Snuggle robots and talking toilets: CES 2018's wildest gadgets on January 16, 2018 at 10:35 pm
Or cuddle with a robot? Those are just a few of the ideas we've seen at ... It suggests physical activities, such as taking medicine or going for a walk, and also makes personalized recommendations for news, music or games. Headed to beta trials before ... […]
- Segway Loomo: personal robot meets hoverboard on January 15, 2018 at 4:26 pm
The target market for Loomo isn’t very clear, however it’s safe to say that the future customers will most likely be interested in a hoverboard, or a robot or even a pet. Loomo has been designed to function smoothly on various outdoor terrains, such as ... […]
- Segway-Ninebot Highlights CES 2018: Personal Companion Robot Finally Came on January 13, 2018 at 9:43 am
At this CES, Segway-Ninebot's robot Loomo consumer version showed up for the first time. As the world's first personal companion robot suitable for both indoor and outdoor application, Loomo consumer version is possessed of many functions and ... […]
- Segway-Ninebot Highlights CES 2018: Personal Companion Robot Finally Came on January 13, 2018 at 9:32 am
BEIJING, Jan. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- CES 2018 drew the curtains down in Las Vegas on January 12 Pacific Time. Centered on artificial intelligence, this CES presented the world's latest consumer electronics products and technologies. Segway-Ninebot, a ... […]
- QNAP AfoBot Personal Robot And Internet Of Things Server on January 12, 2018 at 12:39 pm
After previously unveiling their new QNAP AfoBot at Computex 2017 last year, QNAP have once again been showcasing their new personal robot and assistant at this year’s CES 2018. Designed to provide a smart artificial assistant the QNAP AfoBot can be seen ... […]
- CES 2018: Meet Loomo, Segway’s personal robot on January 9, 2018 at 3:39 pm
FOX Business’ Liz Claman introduces Segway’s personal robot, Loomo, from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Zacks Equity Research 0:00 […]
via Google News and Bing News