Robotics and AI for Seniors. One member is fascinated with developments in this field and wants to find a way to keep up with what is available and affordable. She does not have a specific application in mind but may need help with declining eyesight.
Someone reminded us that Alexa can serve as a smart link to our TV enabling us to command programs to be shown at will. The downside is we don’t need to get out of your chair, something that can be debilitating.
The Romba cleaning device was mentioned, but the downside here is that it displaces a human who relies on cleaning jobs as a source of income (as may many others of the upcoming devices).
The Japanese are in the forefront developing robots that can care for the elderly.
Robotic dogs are available that provide companionship, follow you around, and respond to commands but don’t require to be fed or walked.
Someone wanted a robot with arms that can put the laundry in the machine and reach low or high shelves would be useful.
The difference between robots that meet physical needs and those that meet human/emotional needs was put out as a discussion point. Later in the discussion a third type of robotic assistance was identified, the performance of routine but onerous tasks (such as sorting the mail).
Someone sought a robot to perform the functions of Certified Nursing Assistant in an assisted living facility. One function would be assistance with medication dispensing. Pill dispensing robots are already in use and can be key to helping someone on multiple meds retain independence.
Members returned again to the theme that what we really need is a source for information for what is already on the market and assessment of how well they work – like a Consumer’s Report for elder care robotic aids.
Other forms of smart technology mentioned included Refrigerators (already in the stores), Clothing drawers that select color matched outfits appropriate for weather and scheduled activities each day, Clothing made of functional fibers that respond to temperature during the day, Mobility Assistive Clothing. Some questioned whether such devices would be really useful to them now, but others noted that for people with Alzheimer’s Disease such devices could be very helpful in keeping them independent
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