The latest gadgets are not only meant for the youngsters. Elderly people and retirees living at home could be the first users of a very important technology: a helping robot.
Potential Market for Home-Robots:
Robots have become smarter, safer and multi-functional over the years. The robotics companies have this started tapping a very big potential market; care-giving to the elderly. The world’s population aged 65 and above is expected to triple by 2050. Therefore it would be a huge chunk of the market segment. This month, at a robotics conference in Boston, CEO of iRobot Mr. Colin Angle said thatit is important to figure out this technology soon as it has a lot of future potential.United Nations estimates suggest that population over the age of 65 will increase by a whopping 181 percent worldwide between the years of 2010 to 2050. Whereas, population increase in younger people from the age of 15 to 65 will increase by 33 percent. Due to this change, more attention will be required in the assistive fields and their automation will be seen.
Mobile Robots & Robotic Pets:
Mechanicalassistance is already available through some robots. With the help of research funded by the European Union, senior citizens in Spain, Italy and Sweden have their houses equipped with motion sensors for tracking health and activity.Mobile robots on wheels contain a videoconferencing system which can be easily controlled remotely. This helps for the doctors and relatives to check in with the elderly. A few nursing homes in the U.S., Europe and Japan give a robot seal to lonely residents to keep as companion. The seal responds like an actual pet and when petted replies by purring and cooing, whereas if it is ignored it will cry.
Future of Robotic Assistance:
As machines are becoming more capable, robotic helpers could play an important role in assisting people with day to day chores and bathing and dressing. As artificial intelligence improves, robots could eventually interact more intelligently for companionship or entertainment purposes.
IRobot has not made anything this sophisticated yet, but Angle informed that his company is capable of producing such technology as they have been discussing the prospects of home robots since long ago. The company already makes various types of robots for military purposes, telepresence robotics, and a big range of robots for home-cleaning, including one named Roomba.
Robotics technology is focusing on elderly assistance from many aspects. Robot help systems which fit on legs or arms offer a new way for helping those people who have difficulty picking up items or walking.
It will take lots of time to make these robot machines user-friendly, especially for the elderly who are not known to be up to date with technology.