Washington State University Scientists Create First Elder Care Robot

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The scientists from Washington State University have created a robot for helping elderly people with dementia and other limitations. This elder care robot helps old people to live independently in their own houses.

RAS, the Robot Activity Support System uses WSU smart home embedded with sensors in order to detect its resident’s position. These sensors also help the robot in determining the resident’s daily activities and the timings they need the assistance most.

These robots can navigate through rooms and have the ability to find people on its own. It provides video instructions for doing simple tasks and even helps its owner to take their medication or a snack.

CASAS Researchers Incorporated Robot Activity System (RAS) into their Smart Home Environment

Over the years, a WSU professor of psychology with other professors have guided Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems (CASAS) researchers to develop smart home technologies. Thus, they have intended to develop smart home technologies which could enable impaired elderly people to live alone in their homes. At present, in the U.S., approximately 50 percent elderly people need assistance with everyday activities and the annual cost is about $2 trillion.

By 2050 the number of adults over the age of 85 expected to become triple. Diane Cook, professor of electrical engineering and Schmitter-Edgecombe are highly optimistic about RAS and the WSU smart home technologies. Meanwhile, they are also hoping for these technologies to reduce the financial strain on healthcare through enabling the older adults staying alone.

However, according to Cook, 90% of elderly prefer to age in their own places. They do not favor the idea of moving into a nursing home. Researchers thus hope these technologies can help older adults live independently on their own.

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