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Service Robots Are Coming to Help US

By National Science Foundation

June 15, 2016

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The U.S. National Science Foundation's Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity program aims to advance and integrate robotics into people-centered service systems in homes, hospitals, and elder-care facilities.

Through the program, industry and university partnerships develop and test their technologies in everyday human interactions.

A partnership between the Universities of Louisville and Texas at Arlington and health and defense contractors has designed Adaptive Robotic Nursing Assistants (ARNAs) to assist in the care of long-term patients by fetching items, monitoring patients and vitals, and alerting nurses of any changes. A second iteration of ARNA will walk with a patient and assess a patient's risk of falling en route. A new model of the robot will be tested in Texas hospitals in 2018.

Meanwhile, University of Pennsylvania researchers are developing a low-cost robot capable of working with the elderly in elder-care facilities. The robot would help the elderly pick up objects, as well as monitoring their health.

"On one level, we will gain knowledge about the design of service robots, both hardware and software, that can perform a limited set of manipulation tasks on elders' behalf," says University of Pennsylvania professor Mark Yim. "At a macro level, the information gathered by these robots and how elders use them during field use will help us learn how robots can help create a larger data-driven, health-monitoring system."

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