Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?

Many adults have found themselves making difficult choices with aging parents who want to live independently, but are increasingly frail (I've been in this situation with my mother-in-law and my father). What does the field of robotics and telepresence have to offer?

Here is a nice summation of some of the positive benefits of using assistive technology:

Surveillance: Robots can not only help with some of the above direct benefits to payers and providers, but they can assure family members that the elder person is receiving the care that is their due, and that the nursing home is taking appropriate steps to look out for their health. This surveillance, as well as input of user data via camera and microphone, is able to measure emotion, mood, sentiment and affect.

Privacy: Just like a diary or a confessional booth can provide conversational privacy, people seem to prefer talking with avatars, especially about their health. Multiple studies (1, 2, 3) have shown that people are generally more comfortable talking with an avatar, especially in a healthcare setting. Robots can also help with very simple private tasks, such as helping someone go to the bathroom, change a bedpan, or other privacy-related tasks that you and I would not want a person to help us with.

Social status: Just as people consider the iPhone or a fancy car as a sign of wealth, a robot that answers the door can be a sign of social status (like my Grandmother’s sequin-covered electric wheelchair). Technology is cultural: those who own and control a technology define a social class.

Companionship: Robots – especially software robots like the ones we make at Geppetto – also offer companionship, mental exercises, conversation, guidance, and advice on health-related issues from pharmaceutical to dietary information. This companionship also includes to-do lists for bathing, laundry, cleaning, cooking, feeding, food shopping, pharmacy visits, etc. This companion can keep track of certain health data like blood test results and blood pressure, weight, height, temperature, etc. Integration with peripherals like Apple and Samsung offer an easy step for such open APIs. And then there’s the custom data, non-normative data, and personalization and customization that these systems can learn.

Science fiction writers have thought about this for almost a century. Consider the psychophonic nurse from a 1928 short story by David Keller:

"I had her made by the Eastinghouse Electric Company. You see, she's just a machine nurse, but as she doesn't eat anything, is on duty twenty-four hours a day, and draws no salary, she's cheap at the price I paid."

"...let me show you how she works. She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments, and by means of tubes such as are used in the radio, she's very sensitive to sounds.
(Read more about the 1928 psychophonic nurse)

Fans of the wonderful anime film Roujin Z by Katsuhiro Otomo recall the Roujin Z-0001 robotic bed. Take a look at the short trailer below; it's really amazing.


( Roujin Z-0001 Robotic Bed )

Also, don't forget the companion robot from Philip K. Dick's The Midas Plague. (There's another PKD robot, but I'm having trouble finding it...)

Update: Thanks to @palmer_eldritch, I remembered the Robant from Dick's 1953 story The Impossible Planet.

Behind Norton came a withered old woman. Beside her moved a gleaming robant, a towering robot servant, supporting her with his arm...

End update.

Read the excellent article at Robohub.org

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/18/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but shows real promise.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.' - Philip K. Dick

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.

Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.

Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'

World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.