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GiraffPlus Robot Helps Elderly At Home

The GiraffPlus robot combines a variety of technologies, including telepresence and medical sensors, to allow seniors to remain in their own homes as long as they can.


(GiraffPlus telepresence medical robot)

At 94, Grandma Lea could not live alone anymore, but she wanted to stay at home. She still does thanks to the EU-funded GiraffPlus (@giraffplus) system, which uses a combination of wearable devices, sensors throughout the home and a mobile robot to assist older people in their homes, and to connect them to family, friends and healthcare professionals who need to keep an eye on the person’s health and activities...

“People ask why I don’t just live with my daughter, but she has grandchildren of her own and many new responsibilities. With this valuable assistant that I call ‘Mr Robin’ I’m more relaxed about the years ahead, and so are my children and grandchildren”, explains 94-year-old Lea Mina Ralli, also known as Grandma – ‘nonna’ in Italian – Lea. She has been using the GiraffPlus system for 5 months and often writes about ‘Mr Robin’ on her blog (in Italian)...

€3 million of EU funding was invested in GiraffPlus to test how robots and other devices could help older people live safer, more independent lives. The sensors are designed to detect activities like cooking, sleeping or watching television and monitor health – blood pressure or sugar levels for example. They also allow the person’s caregivers to monitor their wellbeing remotely and to check for falls. A robot moves around the home and allows family, friends and carers to virtually visit the person.

Science fiction readers found out about the idea of remote-operated telemedicine more than 100 years ago. In his amazing 1909 story The Machine Stops, E.M. Forster gave a prescient look at this technology:

"Kuno," she said, "I cannot come to see you. I am not well."

Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor.
(Read more about the telemedicine apparatus)

Via Robohub; also, learn more about GiraffPlus.

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