Are Humanoid Robots for Elderly Care Here to Stay?
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Are Humanoid Robots for Elderly Care Here to Stay?
Staying independent and in familiar surroundings as long as possible in old age – this is the wish of the most of us. It will be made possible by humanoid robots that help people cope with everyday life and wearable robots that support the movements of the wearer.
Research by scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is aimed at making such futuristic robotic solutions suited for everyday life. Research is funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation with EUR 4.5 million.
Within the framework of the project “JuBot – Young at heart with robots: Versatile assistance robotics for managing everyday life,” researchers will develop a new generation of the known humanoid ARMAR robots. These helpers are supposed to take over everyday tasks in the household, such as bringing objects, laying and clearing the table, putting objects into the dishwasher, and communicating via various channels with the relatives of the persons they care for. Secondly, researchers will study and develop wearable robots – also called exoskeletons – that do not only support personal mobility of elderly people, but also enable specific training of motor and cognitive skills. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Mobile Robots, Autonomous Vehicles, and Drones in Logistics, Warehousing, and Delivery 2020-2040.
Robotics to Counteract Demographic Change
“As an aging society it is one of our most urgent challenges to ensure a self-determined life and a high quality of life for our fellow citizens,” says Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. “At the same time, we have to reduce the workload of nursing staff and to counteract the shortage of skilled staff in the care sector. Assistance robotics and AI-based technologies studied by KIT may represent a solution.”
“Human-centered robotics is an important subject for the future dealt with by KIT. However, it is not sufficient to make available the technologies. When using assistance robots in common human-robot living spaces, we also have to consider protection of privacy, structural demands, and impacts on society,” says Professor Oliver Kraft, KIT Vice-President for Research. “For this reason, KIT experts in robotics, artificial intelligence, human-machine interfaces, IT security, engineering, sports sciences, architecture, and technology assessment are jointly working on this project.”
Robots Learn from Humans
“Through interaction with humans, the JuBot robots will learn continuously and adapt to their individual needs and habits,” says Professor Tamim Asfour of KIT’s Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics and coordinator of the JuBot project. The KIT-developed ARMAR robots can already carry out complex tasks in a kitchen environment. They learn from and interact with humans with the help of natural language.
“We pursue a human-centered approach to address central aspects of assistance robotics, such as versatility and customization of the systems, and their tests in real everyday surroundings,” Asfour explains. To reach this goal, the robots will first be trained in a human-robot apartment at KIT and tested later on at a retirement home in Karlsruhe. “With the JuBot team, we do not only want to push research into intelligence assistance robotics, but also wish to contribute to a breakthrough in supporting a self-determined life of elderly people.”
What an easy experience! The product developed so fast and so trouble-free – I could snap my fingers, and it was done. Made me feel like a magician – until I saw the bill at the end of the month. That’s when I realised how much work had gone on behind the scenes. For the future, I will be watching the costs a bit closer – it’s just too easy to rack up big bills. To be fair, this was very transparent, and I had visibility of those costs all the way through – I just didn’t look at it, that’s all.
Having said that, the product is pretty well finished – so we can get it launched earlier than I thought possible. So maybe those costs were a good investment, because we all know how valuable it is to be the first to market.
Head of Innovation and Compliance
Construction Sector Innovation Lab
Innovolo is the most valuable business resource we have invested in to date. I strongly recommend any business owners interested in running a successful innovation initiative - whether you already have an R&D team or not - to seriously consider Innovolo's retained service model.
Director of Innovation and Development
High-Rise Façade Manufacturer
It is an excellent collaboration between our company, and the Innovolo team, and is working extremely well. I am very pleased with your chemists who clearly know what they are doing.
Product Development Director
Global Medical Products Manufacturer
We had a very tight deadline to bring a brand new product to market, and we couldn't have done it without Innovolo's expertise. Thanks again for delivering a high quality and essential project so quickly.
Product Development Manager
Industrial Services Equipment Provider
Innovolo's initial understand of our challenges and the need for a rapid ROI confirmed that we had chosen the right partners for this strategic redirection in the company's growth. We were pleased to see the high level of professionalism and collaboration evident from all parts of the team once we gave the green light, and this has given us the confidence to continue the NPD focus into 2021 and beyond.
Global Lubricants Distributor
We used Innovolo for industry analysis with excellent results. Their attention to detail is great, and we appreciated their ability to quickly grasp not only the outcome we were looking for, but an understanding of the markets in which we operate. Highly recommended.