Doctors to use remotely controlled robot to assess care home residents

20 September 2021, 16:34

Dr Mauro Dragone with the assisted living robot
Dr Mauro Dragone with the assisted living robot. Picture: PA

The pilot follows research from The National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Doctors are to use a remotely operated robot to give check ups to care home residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions.

The pilot will use technology pioneered by The National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and uses machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It will see health practitioners control a robot over the internet to interact with residents in facilities run by Blackwood Homes and Care in Scotland.

Clinicians will be able to see through the eyes of the robot, move around the room or between rooms and operate its arms and hands to carry out more complex assessments.

It can also operate semi-autonomously 24/7.

Toyota’s Human Support Robot will be used by the researchers alongside commercially available tele-presence robots.

The developers believe it can help those with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments by providing regular monitoring and health assessments.

The research was led by Dr Mauro Dragone from the National Robotarium alongside Dr Mario Parra Rodriguez from the University of Strathclyde.

Dr Dragone said: “With gaps between assessments lengthening, the care and support that is being prescribed to assist vulnerable people may become unsuitable as an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities change over time.”

He said the prototype robot however can carry out “a thorough, non-intrusive assessment” and will allow carers to “to spot cognitive decline more quickly”.

He added that the assessment can be “conducted without the patient leaving home or the clinician leaving their office”.

Dr Rodriguez said: “The experience of inhabiting a distant robot through which I can remotely guide, assess, and support vulnerable adults affected by devastating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, grants me confidence that challenges we are currently experiencing to mitigate the impact of such diseases will soon be overcome through revolutionary technologies.”

Colin Foskett, head of innovation at Blackwood Homes and Care, said: “Blackwood is always looking for solutions that help our customers to live more independently whilst promoting choice and control for the individual.”

He added that robotics have “the potential to improve independent living” and that the research will “aid independent living and improve outcomes for our customers”.

The National Robotarium is supported by funds from both the UK and Scottish Governments.

UK Government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It was fascinating to visit the National Robotarium and see first-hand how virtual teleportation technology could revolutionise healthcare and assisted living.”

He added that the research centre is a “world leader for robotics and AI, bringing jobs and investment to the area”.

The team behind the research said it aims to run its first pilot outside of the laboratory before the end of the year.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Commuters

London commuter numbers rising but staff embracing hybrid working, O2 data shows

A man using a laptop

Online Safety Bill is not fit for purpose, say IT experts

Online Safety Bill

UK children ‘lack understanding and awareness of cyber bullying’

Apps on an iphone screen

WhatsApp unveils new privacy features to boost user security

Snapchat announces new features

Snapchat introduces Family Centre tool to boost child safety

Child online safety measures

Rising number of self-generated child sexual abuse images online reported

NHS 111 service

Warning of NHS 111 delays after cyber attack causes computer system outage

Robots drawing

People are faster at understanding human actions than robotic movements – study

Summer weather July 15th 2022

Parliament closes TikTok account after MPs raise China concerns

The XV (Experimental Vessel) Patrick Blackett

Navy to use experimental warship to test autonomous systems

Amazon Results

Amazon records second quarter loss but revenue tops estimates

A protein shape

DeepMind research predicts structure of almost every known protein

Online Safety Bill amendment

NSPCC: Thousands of child abuse crimes every month Online Safety Bill is delayed

A woman’s finger pressing a key on a laptop keyboard

Meta asks Oversight Board for guidance on Covid-19 misinformation policy

A Boots drone

Drones deliver prescription medicines for pharmacy for first time

Someone playing a video game

Time spent gaming has ‘little to no impact’ on wellbeing, study finds