Imagine a world where robots are interactively able to assist in the care of its elderly citizens?
A world where the repetitive and physically demanding tasks normally preformed by health care workers could be reassigned to robotic assistance?
This is a dream that Healthbots, a unique research project is currently investigating, using today's technology for the world of tomorrow.
Healthbots is a joint research project between UniServices, The University of Auckland and the Electronic and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea (ETRI). Together these partners bring together their expertise to evolve health care for older people through custom designed robotic technology. The principal objective of this 22 member strong, multidisciplinary team is to provide an advanced robotic healthcare platform. These teams bring together their unique capabilities to a new research partnership investigating this vital and pressing area of health care. We believe that robots can play a meaningful part in our future society, assisting health care professionals with repetitive tasks and provide interactions to help enrich elderly social experiences. We are designing applications to assist with the dispensation of medication, vital sign monitoring and fall detection.Our first set of research trials with our first robotic prototype began in late 2009. Our overall first aim for our research is to link the robot wirelessly into a computer network via a central server which will deliver much of the IT support needed for the robot to function.
What is included in our research?
We currently have funding to meet 11 objectives that were established at the start of our research period. These 11 objectives were set to meet our principal objective of providing an advanced robotic healthcare platform. If you would like to know more about them, please click here. Additionally, we welcome your feedback and comments.
Who does what?
The interdisciplinary team at the Electronic and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea are combining their extensive knowledge of developing inexpensive domestic robots with researchers at The University of Auckland Advanced Robotics Research Laboratory which is supplying the Robotic software applications. Auckland University's research laboratory is also conducting psychological and cognitive studies on the effects and affects of using robots to assist health care professionals in their workplace. This research has support by both the New Zealand and Korean governments as we aim to produce a robot that meets the export market.
Why are we doing this?
We believe that the technology of today can change the world of tomorrow. Our research is up there on the cutting edge, and we must admit that it is an exciting place to be! Using robots to assist in elderly care is a huge step forward. Today, the skill shortage of health care professionals in the healthcare industry is causing a huge strain on resources of nearly all developed countries' resources; particularly in elderly care as developed nations have rapidly aging populations.
We believe through the use of custom designed robots, our research could have an impact on:
- Reducing the cost in health care by deferring repetitive tasks to a robot which would otherwise require the work of a skilled professional. Example of this could include, taking body temperatures, blood pressure and checking patients have taken medication
- Increase the quality of the healthcare experience for residents and patients, improving their psychological wellbeing
- Improve the level of patient monitoring with a robot helper
- Use a robot to collect data and log events
- Increase the capacity of aged care facilities