Soon, a caring robot that can keep elderly entertained



  Scientists are developing a new robot which they say can help remind elderly people to take their medication and monitor their vital signs.

Researchers in New Zealand, who are now customising the robot with gaming facilities, claimed that the machine would soon be able to entertain the elderly people while encouraging exercise and mobility.

Stickmen Studios, a Christchurch-based gaming company, which conceived the idea of a “caring robot”, has developed a game called Kung Fu Funk that can help rehabilitate people who have suffered brain injuries.

Now, the company has teamed up with researchers at the University of Auckland to customise a robot with the gaming facilities that will help elderly people stay active through interactive games, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The robot, which will be used for the purpose, is called Eldercare and it has been created with South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.

The aim of the robot, according to the researchers, is to reduce the strain on healthcare resources as the ageing population grows and improve the lives of people who are dependent on care.

David Cotter of UniServices, a division of Auckland University that commercialises its research, said the robot could monitor a person’s blood pressure, or insulin levels and then transmit the data to a centre using wireless connections where a nurse or doctor can access it.

It can also fetch and carry and monitor when a person has fallen over through a bracelet that communicates with it. It then decides whether emergency services are needed.

Cotter said the robot, which is still in a development phase, would help balance out the volume of elderly people to caregivers.

“We can use technology to help keep people active and in their own homes. The robot can also be used to monitor spiking insulin levels and monitor readings. Telecommunication medicine is the next generation of rest homes.”

Cotter said Stickmen Studios had created physical games that made people exercise without necessarily realising it.

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