Academics State Importance Of Robots For Elderly Social Care
Jan 30, 2017 03:53 PM EST
Academics are approaching a new manner to provide care for the elderly by incorporating the use of technology. The creation of humanoid robots that display good bedside etiquette and cultural awareness could aid in solving this crisis.
As reported by the BBC, a £2m project led by an international team is underway to develop and create versatile robots to care for the elderly. Apart from offering companionship, the bots will also help in daily tasks such as taking pills. According to academics, this would ease the pressure on hospitals and care homes.
Known as Pepper Robots, the personal social robots will be built in assistance with researchers from the University of Bedfordshire and Middlesex University. They will be individually programmed to suit the individual they are looking after and caring for.
Funded by the Japanese government and the EU. The program is hoped to successfully develop Pepper Robots in the next 3 years. With Japan already looking into similar bots for use in hospitals and airports, this will not be a huge leap in technology for them. An expert in trans-cultural nursing, Prof Irena Papadopoulos, said: "As people live longer, health systems are put under increasing pressure.
She also added: "We are starting with care homes and with people who are semi-independent living in sheltered housing, but we do believe that in the future the robots would become acceptable for people to have in their own homes."
Softbank Robotics is responsible for the Pepper Robots manufacturing and thousands of Japanese homes already use them. The chief scientist of the company, Amit Humar Pandey, stated that the company intended on creating a world humans coexisted with robots in harmony to boost a safer, healthier and smarter lifestyle.
Hope is that the bots will improve upon the lifestyle and wellbeing of their charges by being a source of entertainment as well as better communication. Via smart appliances, charges can connect with the outside world and family with ease.
Gestures and speech will be the main source of communication and the robots will transport independently. They will also intelligently acknowledge signs of illness or pain in the elderly. Japan is already making use of a similar technology in its hospitals for tasks such as serving food and lifting patients.
The Advinia Healthcare care homes in the UK will be privy to the robots in the project's final year. Executive chairman, Dr Sanjeev Kanoria, said that the use of robots could aid care workers by decreasing medication errors and helping them use advanced technology. This would in turn "help vulnerable residents live safer independent lives in care homes and at home."