Robotics and Drones Being Designed to Help Older Adults Stay At Home Longer

Published by , December 7, 2015 11:30 am

(The New York Times) — Roboticists and physicians predict that a new wave of advances in computerized, robotic, and Internet-connected technologies will be available in coming years to help older adults stay at home longer. Examples of robotic and artificial-intelligence-derived technologies that will be commercially available in the next decade include intelligent walkers, smart pendants that track falls and “wandering,” room and home sensors that monitor health status, balancing aids, virtual and robotic electronic companions, and even drones.

Naira Hovakimyan, a University of Illinois roboticist, recently received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the idea of designing small autonomous drones to perform simple household chores, like retrieving a bottle of medicine from another room. Hovakimyan believes that drones will not only be safe, but will become an everyday fixture in elder care within a decade or two. “I’m convinced that within 20 years drones will be today’s cellphones,” she said.

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