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Robots to help elderly with mobility issues

4th April 2014

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

With the development of humanoid robots coming on leaps and bounds in recent years, an Oxford University researcher hopes that one day soon these new robots could help elderly residents with mobility issues, transforming home care and adding to the already essential use of stair lifts and mobility aids in the home.

The researcher said that, “One of the goals is that older people in their homes with poor mobility could have a companion to make sure they take their pills on time or call 999 if they fall over”. As one of 14 individual researchers working on exploration into the way humanoid robots are developing, this researcher from Oxford has high hopes for the future of these robots and the home care industry as a whole in the UK, where they have the potential to work alongside such mobility devices as home stair lifts to provide a full care system enabling the elderly to live in their own homes for longer.

The research

A £2m project entitled ‘Being there: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces’ is investigating the potential roles such robots could fulfil in everyday situations, such as caring for the elderly, and features the work of 14 researchers from top universities in the country including Oxford, Bath, Exeter, Queen Mary University of London and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, according to this article.

The project is being funded by the Electronic and Physical Sciences Research Council as the researchers work with two robots called Nao robots, exploring how they can be of use to humans in the future in such areas as elderly home care without breaching privacy issues.

While the development of robots as home carers helping with everyday tasks is an exciting prospect, it is still far from being a reality, but in the meantime elderly citizens in the UK wishing to retain their independence and carry on living at home can benefit from the assistance of Handicare mobility aids and level access walk in baths and accessories.

 

Image Credit: Robbie Sproule (flickr.com)