Subscribe via RSS Feed

Robots to Help Care for the Elderly

January 9, 2017 0 Comments

Focusing its attention to care for the elderly, IBM Research has created a prototype robot named MERA, which stands for Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant.

IBM MERA is a Watson-enabled application designed to assist the elderly and their caregivers. Developed in collaboration with the Rice University in Texas, the prototype robot runs on the IBM Cloud and Softbank’s Pepper robot interface and is used to help study innovative ways of taking a patient’s vital signs, answer health-related questions, and more.

Elderly People to be Cared for by Robots

Robots are being created to assist with the care for the elderly

One unique way that the IBM MERA measures vital signs is through recording a person’s face. The robot takes fast and accurate readings on a patient’s pulse and breathing measurements multiple times in a day. The robot is also designed to interact with the patient through the IBM Watson Speech to Text, Text to Speech, and Natural Language Classifier APIs, enabling it to answer health-related questions such as “what is my heart rate?”

IBM Research’s senior vice president, Arvind Krishna, says “Now is the time to invest in, care for, protect, and empower our ageing population so they can live more independent lives. Our new research on ‘embodied cognition,’ which can combine real-time data generated by sensors with cognitive computing, will explore how to provide clinicians and caregivers with insights that could help them make better care decisions for their patients.”

And technology doesn’t end there… A collaboration between IBM Research and an independent healthcare provider in Italy will soon install senior housing with sensors to monitor its residents’ daily activities. The built-in sensors will be used to identify changes in physical conditions and other irregularities. These sensors are designed to give healthcare practitioners an idea on changing situations.

For instance, monitoring the atmospheric readings will determine the room someone is in and how long they remained in it. The readings will be used to leverage cognitive systems to help build a contextual understanding of a person’s normal day.

Roberta Massi who is President of Sole Cooperativa (involved in the collaboration) says “This new system will be designed to help our residents live safely and independently for as long as possible.”

“By better understanding a person’s routines and surroundings, we can identify potential risks, personalise care and deliver precise recommendations that improve their quality of life. We can also more effectively improve our business operations by ensuring our staff is more focused on helping residents and patients as potential medical issues arise.”

Filed in: Workplace Tips

About the Author:

Susan Stephens is the Managing Director and driving force behind Back to Basics Care. She is dedicated to providing quality learning and development opportunities to the Health Care Industry, and bringing you current and useful information applicable to the sector.

Leave a Reply