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Domestic robot to help sick elderly live independently longer

Date:
April 22, 2010
Source:
Eindhoven University of Technology
Summary:
To enable elderly people to live at home as long as possible, a group of researchers will link robots and 'smart homes'. The robot, a 'sensible family friend', will ensure that home is a nice place to stay. And that patients do the right things. The project focuses in particular on COPD patients, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A Nao robot. In the KSERA project this standard robot will be the starting point. It will be upgraded and fitted with a projector, so that it can show pictures.
Credit: Image courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology

To enable elderly people to live at home as long as possible, a group of European researchers, coordinated from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), will link robots and 'smart homes'. The robot, a 'sensible family friend', will ensure that home is a nice place to stay. And that patients do the right things.

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The recently started research project, which has been named KSERA (Knowledgeable Service Robots for Aging) focuses in particular on COPD patients, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2030 this disease will be the third cause of death worldwide, according to expectations of the World Health Organization. The disease especially affects old-aged people.

In three years several demonstration houses should be finished. They will be equipped with a robot and the domestic systems of a 'smart home' -- think of self-opening curtains. The central role is played by the 'domestic robot'. It follows patients through the house, learns their habits, watches them closely, gives sound advice, turns the air conditioning up or down a bit, and warns a doctor when the patient is not doing well. In addition, the robot also provides entertainment in the form of the Internet and videos. "We want to show what is possible in this area ," says project coordinator dr. Lydia Meesters about the goal of the project.

The TU/e researcher, from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, emphasizes that this new type of intelligent care house will not be a cold environment. "It should be as homely as possible. In an ideal situation the only technology you see will be the robot. It will be the contact for all the domestic systems. Otherwise the place will just look very homely."

Ethical issues will also be given special attention. The robot must give good advice to patients, but it should not be a policeman, Meesters explains. What to do, for example, when a COPD patient lights a cigarette? And what may the robot system pass on to 'the central operator', and what not? Meesters: "We need to define clear limits, for the robot will continuously measure and see very private data."

The project has a total budget of almost 4 million euros, 2.9 million of which will be furnished by the EU. Other parties involved are the Italian research center Institute Superiore Mario Boella, Vienna University of Technology, Hamburg University, the Italian ICT company Consoft, the Central European Institute of Technology in Vienna and the Israeli care provider Maccabi Healthcare Services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eindhoven University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Eindhoven University of Technology. "Domestic robot to help sick elderly live independently longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422085218.htm>.
Eindhoven University of Technology. (2010, April 22). Domestic robot to help sick elderly live independently longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422085218.htm
Eindhoven University of Technology. "Domestic robot to help sick elderly live independently longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422085218.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

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