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Monday, October 11, 2010

Service and social robotics systems for “Ageing Well”

Social robotics as a tool to serve an aging society and the EU wants to strengthen the global position of European industry in service robotics for “ageing well” as well as significantly advanced state of the art in the field.
Robotics is a prioritized research sector in EU's latest FP7 ICT Programme 2011-2012 and robotics scientists are now challenged to demonstrate that robotics assistance can be a cost-effective alternative to institutionalized care while improving quality of life.

Assistive robotics for Ambient Assisted Living

EU demands research proposals that  focus on integration of advanced robotics systems and intelligent environments to provide solutions to key issues of relevance for improved independent living and quality of life of elderly people and efficiency of care. Major challenges to be addressed include: self-learning robotics solutions, which can  adapt to the user needs and share contextual information with other artefacts in the surroundings of the user; navigate in unstructured environments and perform precise manipulation of relevant objects, provide affective and empathetic user-robotic interaction, taking into account the acceptance by users. Development of basic robotics components is not called for.

Services for elderly people

Services for elderly people should focus on enabling extended independent living and support for higher efficiency and quality of care work based on robotics solutions. Examples of services include support to daily tasks, mediated social interaction with carers and relatives as well as support to mobility. Key stakeholders in the value chain of service provision should be involved, such as care service providers, insurance companies, housing organisations, relevant industry partners and public bodies. Involvement of users will be an essential element as well as appropriate consideration of safety and ethical aspects. Use of  open robotics platforms and contribution to standards is encouraged. These services shall be developed and validated against public sector needs through a joint Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP).

Robotics for rehabilitation of stroke and neurological conditions

In the future robots will be part of personal health systems for remote management of diseases, treatment and rehabilitation, outside hospitals and care centres. What is needed are systems providing patient services at home, with telesupervision by health professionals as and when required. Solutions may build on robotic and haptic technologies, wearable systems, implants, human-computer interfaces, web services or virtual reality environments to facilitate continuity of personalised cognitive and functional rehabilitation. Heterogeneous data (e.g., biofeedback, monitoring of limb movements, behavioural monitoring and analysis) and predictive models will be used to assess patient status and progress, monitor risk factors and predict new episodes.

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