|Credit: Dan Chen, End of life caring machine|
The artistic robot reflects a complex issue in the cross road of human values, global trends, sci-tech interests and socio-economic challenges.
European robot visionsWhile a majority of European citizens will ban the use of robots in child and elderly care, as reported here before, hundred of million Euros have already been invested in robotic road maps and research projects to develop robot companions and ambient living assistants for elderly and disabled people.
In the last decade the European Commission has co-funded appr. 100-150 M€ in robotics research to develop advanced technical aids for promoting independent living and improving quality of life. So far the transfer of scientific knowledge from prototypes into reliable, human-safe and affordable consumer products has been very limited. Much more investment in research, development and testing will be needed in the coming decade before robots are ready to take place in private homes or public care facilities in Europe and other parts of the world.
1000 million Euro Companion Robot
Sustainable welfare and quality of lifeAccording to the public project proposal report the benefits for the European society will be "sustainable welfare that will enhance the quality of life of the European population with its rapidly changing demographics. This sustainable welfare will take the form of sentient robot companions that will be produced, distributed and serviced through a unique value chain with a substantial and revolutionary economic impact." In the report the researchers envisage impacts in many spheres of human existence—private, social, economic, urban and physical. Illustrated by a use-case scenario for the year 2023 a future robot companion might be smart enough to assist an elderly couple when shopping. When getting older and disabled more complex support and assisting tasks will be needed of an increasing number of European citizens.
|Credit: RoboCom, Illustration of a use-case of the |
WorkCompanion Platforms at year 10 and beyond.
Higher Aging Costs in EuropeAccording to the “The 2012 Ageing Report: Economic and budgetary projections for the EU27 Member States (2010-2060)”, analyzing the economic and budgetary impact of an ageing population over the long-term, the share of older people is project to rise from 17% to 30% in 2060. As a consequence, the EU would move from having four people of working-age to each person aged over 65 years to about two people of working-age.
On the basis of current policies, age-related public expenditures (pensions, health-care and long-term care) are projected to increase by 4.1 percentage points to around to around 29% of GDP between 2010 and 2060. Public pension expenditure alone is projected to rise by 1.5 percentage points to nearly 13% of GDP by 2060.
Robotic Care Vision
|Credit: ALIAS, Metra Lab|
Service robotics has been identified and is promoted as a new sector with strong industrial potential of growth and development. Integration and interoperability of robotics components with smart environments and more precise services are key objectives for further research and development.
European Care Robotics ProjectsIn the minds of many young robot researchers elderly people might expect mobile robot systems that interacts with them, monitor them and provide cognitive assistance in daily life, and will support social inclusion. (ALIAS).
List of some EC-funded assisted robotics projects:
- ACCOMPANY- Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNg Years
- ALIAS - Adaptable Ambient Living Assistant
- ALIZE - Adaptive Strategies for Sustainable Long-Term Social Interaction
- COMPANIONABLE - Integrated Cognitive Assistive & Domotic Companion Robotic Systems for Ability & Security
- DOMEO - Domestic Robot for Elderly Assistance
- ExCITE - Enabling SoCial Interaction Through Embodiment
- FLORENCE - Multi Purpose Mobile Robot for Ambient Assisted Living
- HERMES - Cognitive care and guidance for active aging
- HOBBIT - Multi Purpose Mobile Robot for Ambient Assisted Living
- KSERA - Knowledgeable SErvice Robots for Aging
- MobiServ - Integrated Intelligent Home Environment for the Provision of Health, Nutrition and - MOBIlity SERVices to the Elderly
- RoboEarth - Robots sharing a knowledge base for world modelling and learning actions
- Robo M.D. - Home care robot for monitoring and detection of critical situations
- SRS - Multi-Role Shadow Robotic System for Independent Living