Robot help

Researchers at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) are taking part in a European project aimed at creating an intelligent system comprising a robot and smart sensors that can support independent living for elderly people.

MOBISERV (An Integrated Intelligent Home Environment for the Provision of Health, Nutrition and Mobility Services to the Elderly) has been funded with an EU Framework 7 grant of 2.7M Euros, of which UWE will receive 267,605 Euros. The project co-ordinator is Systema Technologies and the consortium has nine European partners from seven countries.

The project will bring together a multi-disciplinary team in UWE with expertise in care for older people, Tina Fear and Simon Evans, robotics, Sanja Dogramadzi, and human-computer interaction, Praminda Caleb-Solly, who will look at the needs of older people and the potential of technology to meet those needs, with companies such as Robosoft (France) Smartex (Italy), CSEM (Switzerland) and Smart Homes (Netherlands). The team will also include health care providers St Anna in the Netherlands and the universities of Thessaloniki and Lappeenranta.

The project aims to produce three key systems of caring for older people. A wearable health status monitor with smart sensors woven into undergarments Smartex and CSEM); a secure tele-alarm and health reporting system; and a nutrition support system Thessaloniki), which might consist for example of reminders for when meals and drinks should be taken.

All these systems will be linked to a robotic platform, which will also facilitate communications – helping people to keep in touch with friends or relatives, or create shopping lists using voice recognition. ROBOSOFT will deliver 2 Kompaï-R&D robots for trials starting in May 2010.

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