Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

'Carebot' could boost elderly care

Robot P37 S65 with University of Salford researcher Antonio Espingardeiro (University of Salford/PA)

A "carebot" which can remind elderly people to take medication and exercise, and even tell them jokes, has been created.

The machine is designed to supplement the intensive care required by care home residents and help perform routine tasks.

Robot P37 S65 is the brainchild of University of Salford researcher Antonio Espingardeiro, who is looking for investment to conduct field trials and perfect the idea before a full product launch.

His robot can be programmed with many routine health interventions designed for people with dementia, such as speech therapy and object recognition exercises.

Through face recognition it can also remember the preferences and requirements of each patient, as programmed by a human worker.

Based on his earlier studies in care homes, the researcher believes his robot can improve quality of life for the elderly by promoting exercise, playing games and acting as a videolink to family and loved ones.

It will also support carers by following them around with meals and alerting them to emergencies and regular appointments.

Mr Espingardeiro said: "Care of the elderly is a difficult issue but as populations age we're facing a difficult choice. Do we employ more people from a smaller workforce to care for us in our old age, or do we provide lower standards of care with fewer resources?

"With my robot I believe that we can avoid this problem. I've already established that robots can provide meaningful interaction to supplement human contact, and from my work with care homes I've seen first-hand how both staff and residents benefit from their presence."

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