Robots and smart sensors designed to support independent living for the elderly and infirm are being developed by researchers at the University of the West of England. “The project will bring together a multi-disciplinary team in UWE with expertise in care for older people, Tina Fear and Simon Evans, robotics, Sanja Dogramadzi, and human-computer interaction, Praminda Caleb-Solly, who will look at the needs of older people and the potential of technology to meet those needs, with companies such as Robosoft (France) Smartex (Italy), CSEM (Switzerland) and Smart Homes (Netherlands). The team will also include health care providers St Anna in the Netherlands and the universities of Thessaloniki and Lappeenranta. The project aims to produce three key systems of caring for older people. A wearable health status monitor with smart sensors woven into undergarments (Smartex and CSEM); a secure tele-alarm and health reporting system; and a nutrition support system (Thessaloniki), which might consist for example of reminders for when meals and drinks should be taken. All these systems will be linked to a robotic platform, which will also facilitate communications — helping people to keep in touch with friends or relatives, or create shopping lists using voice recognition. ROBOSOFT will deliver 2 Kompaï-R&D robots for trials starting in May 2010.”
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