In the previous part of this blog series, i-Robot: A new approach to robotics to make our life easier and safer, Part 6, I described robots that can assist people that are not self-sufficient.
There are more options available to apply robotics technology to help people with special needs: older people requiring assistance and support in their everyday life. Their needs are not exclusively limited to medical assistance for the robot owner, but also possible psychological support. Older people often suffer solitude and a robot might mitigate their loneliness, this is the case with the Sota Robot developed by the Vstone Company (see Figure 1):
The Sota robot by Vstone. See the video (Source: YouTube)
The Sota robot is able to interact with the owner through dedicated software installed into the robot itself. Moreover there is a very interesting option: this robot can communicate with sensors inserted in a special shirt worn by its owner to measure blood pressure and body temperature; the data could be stored and available to their doctor who would be able to remotely monitor the conditions of the robot’s owner, or to receive an alarm message sent by the robot in the case of abnormal values of the two cited biological parameters (pressure, temperature).
It is important to note that electronics technology is a fundamental part of realizing such a robot platform; having microprocessors able to process all of the data coming from the sensors, whether the sensors are inserted into the robot or into the special shirt.
The microcontroller has to act as the brain of the robot and it also has to drive the actuators. See an example of a demo board system for robotic applications: the Arduino Uno Rev. 3 Microcontroller (see Figure 2):
The schematic of the Arduino Uno Rev. 3 USB Microcontroller board (Source: Arduino)
Click here to enlarge the image
Another robot that can be utilized for geriatric assistance of elderly people is the R1 humanoid robot which has been developed by scientists at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) with the goal of creating a robot for the assistance of people who need such help (see Figure 3):
The R1 robot built by the IIT Italy. See this video (Source: YouTube)
The R1 robot has 28 motors and it is able to extend its length ranging from 145 to 165 centimeters. It will be more available for a larger number of users because it is a cheaper version of iCub robot, which is more costly, due to its design being focused upon usage in a laboratory environment for scientific purposes.
Robots for assistance to humans are an interesting opportunity for all electronic industries which build ICs to be integrated into the robots that control and manage all the functionalities which help humans in everyday life. What do you think about this type of assistance to humans by means of robots?