Advanced robotics for assisted living
The EU-funded RAMCIP project is developing a novel domestic service robot to assist the elderly, Alzheimer's patients and people suffering mild cognitive impairments with daily activities. The robot will be able to decide autonomously when and how to intervene to assist its user.
© Sergey - fotolia.com
Ageing can often lead to cognitive deterioration, usually in the form of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and sometimes Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The effect is devastating for independence and quality of life, and puts additional pressure on family members and healthcare services.
In an attempt to minimise the social exclusion of the elderly, and to give people the opportunity to live in their own homes for as long as possible, RAMCIP is developing a novel domestic service robot. The goal is a step-change in robotics for assisted living through the fusing of new user-centred design with existing advanced robotics technology. This would take robotic caregiving to a new level.
The RAMCIP consortium is developing a service robot with an on-board touch screen and a dexterous robotic hand and arm. Able to move around the house autonomously, it will also provide access to social media and telepresence-based communication channels for the user to keep in touch with friends and family. And a novel augmented reality interface will allow the robot to project or beam information.
The dextrous robot will also be able to hand things to the user, help with food preparation, and help with housekeeping, for example.
The robot’s advanced cognitive functions will be driven by thorough modelling and monitoring of both the home environment and user. This will allow the robot to understand not only user commands, but also user behaviour and intention. The robot will therefore be able to detect crucial forgotten actions of the user, or step in in emergency cases such as falls. RAMCIP’s user-centric cognition therefore provides for autonomous decision-making over when and how the robot should assist or intervene.
The robot will be able to communicate directly with the user – the robot’s behaviour will respond to the user’s ‘mood’, and help to maintain a positive outlook and exercise his/her cognitive and physical skills.
The robot’s nature will help make it possible for users to live independently for longer and with a better quality of life.