Uses of AI in Patient Care in Hospitals and Care for the Elderly
Below are descriptions of some of the most interesting projects using Al to care for people and especially the elderly in Europe.
- • The TERESA project team has the following vision (http:// teresaproject.eu/): socially intelligent robots that can go out into to the world and act on our behalf, controlled by us, with the ability to react intelligently to situations they encounter. This robot allows older people and others with mobility problems to continue interacting socially without leaving their rooms. Loneliness and isolation are major problems the elderly and disabled people face, and the TERESA robot offers imaginative and revolutionary solutions. Researchers have developed methods that allow robots to perform social functions automatically so human controllers do not need to make decisions about how the robot should move or what positions it should adopt. TERESA robots are capable of semi-autonomous navigation, maintaining face-to-face contact during conversations and exhibiting appropriate body-positioning behavior, similar to humans. Thus, algorithms that can interpret social behavior are able to detect facial emotions, such as the intensity of a smile, for example, and respond accordingly. Thanks to robot's social intelligence, the human controller is free to focus on interactions with other people instead of worrying about manually navigating the robot or adjusting its position and orientation. The telepresence robot was originally developed in the EU-funded Giraffplus project and TERESA is continuing this project. TERESA is collaboration between the University of Amsterdam, the University of Twente, Pablo de Olavide University, Imperial College London, MADoPA and the University of Oxford (coordinator).
- • Robot-Era is another European project using robots to facilitate life for 160 elderly people in Italy and Sweden. Together with the BioRobotics Institute, Robot Era is furthering investing in technology and Europe is spending highly in testing robots with potential to be a solution for aging (https://www.santannapisa.it/en/institute/biorobotics/biorobotics- institute). Even though these projects may not be as advanced as Toshiba’s android, ChihiraAico, which resembles a Japanese woman, they are increasingly popular (https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/ creepily-human-like-robots-2/28/). Supported by a grant of € 4.3 million from the European Commission with partners such as Siemens and Telecom Italia, a project called Acanto launched in February 2015 attempting to create robotic walkers that encourage older people to workout and socialize. Approximately 100 seniors in Spain, Italy and the UK will test the devices before the experiment ends in 2020. The aim is to have a version of the walker for hospitals and a less expensive model for families for under € 2,000, says Luigi Palopoli, a computer engineering professor at the University of Trento in Italy, overseeing the project.
- • The European Commission has granted € 4 million to the MARIO project, a group that is developing robot companions for people with dementia (https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/188522-robotic-solutions- to-give-dementia-patients-better-quality-of-life/es).
- • You can ask the robot the same thing ten times, and it never gets upset says Kathy Murphy, a professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Ireland’s NUI Galway University about Walk Man, the robot savior used in natural disasters.
- • The Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, funded by the European Commission developed Walk-Man, a humanoid robot able to work in buildings affected by natural or man-made disasters (https://www.walk-man.eu/). Walk-Man is a man-like robot, measuring 1.85 meters in height and weighing 120 kilos, designed with powerful manipulation skills. This robot can lift heavy objects, such as collapsed walls, and turn heavy valves to free trapped people. It can also drive, walk, crawl over piles of rubble and operate hand tools such as air drills and cutters. In the future, when the robot masters all these skills, Walk-Man will be a great aid in dangerous situations and rescue operations.
In 2019, worldwide manufacturers sold 8,954 assistive robots for the elderly and disabled, according to a report by the International Robotics Federation in Frankfurt (https://ifr.org/). IFR considers the care of the elderly as tomorrow's major market.