Assistive robots for the demographic change/AAL

General information

Technical assistive systems enable people in need of help to be more independent, thus making them less reliant on others and sometimes even allowing them to manage entirely on their own. Under the heading of “Ambient Assisted Living” (AAL), various solutions have been developed in this field to help older people in their homes. One example is “intelligent” domestic systems, which enable residents to access things such as light switches and heating controls from any desired location. Other examples include intelligent sensors for monitoring and recording vital signs, recognizing emergencies, or telepresence systems enabling people to keep in touch with friends and relatives despite being less mobile.

Assistive robots complement existing AAL or smart home solutions in that they not only have sensory and informative functions but are also capable of moving around and/or performing handling tasks.

Expertise and sample projects

In the course of various research projects, potential applications for service robotics to assist elderly people in the home have been identified on the basis of interviews held with elderly citizens and their care givers. They were asked about the difficulties they encountered due to aging and about the sort of technical support they needed. Applications were initially put into practice and tested using the assistive robot Care-O-bot, which is a complex research platform capable of performing a wide range of domestic tasks.

In a next step, applications that had proved to be effective in practice were then transferred to prototypes close to a final product. This enabled the mobile communication platform MoBiNa to be developed for supporting elderly users in emergencies - which was the scope of the projects “SRS” and “Tech4P. The platform analyzes signals from a localized fall recognition system, then approaches the person who has fallen and contacts an emergency call center via a monitor, camera and microphone. In a design study, the concept of a portable robot arm to assist with typical daily tasks was developed, which transfers the functions of automatically detecting, gripping and manipulating objects to a product-related solution.


Services

  • Market analyses tailored to customer requirements
  • Use of existing Care-Obot® platforms to develop and test new applications
  • Design, development and programming of new assistive robots to support an independent lifestyle
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements, e.g. the German Act on Medical Devices (MPG)
  • Integration of assistive robots into existing AAL or smart home solutions
  • Integration of the technology into new or existing services and processes
  • Real-world evaluations, including training courses for designated robot operators
  • Transfer of development results to potential manufacturers as a basis for new products
  • Support in prototype and serial product development

 

DIH-HERO – Digital Innovation Hubs in Healthcare Robotics

DIH-HERO is a European network that promotes cooperations and technology transfer for service robots in healthcare applications.

 

SOCRATES - Social Cognitive Robotics in the European Society

In the SOCRATES project, Fraunhofer IPA developed key technologies for social service robots.  

 

RoPHa: Robust perception to interactively support elderly users with manipulation tasks in domestic environments

The RoPHa research project aimed at further developing the skills of service robots so that they can perform everyday manipulation tasks in a safe and interactive manner.

 

ASARob: Attention-Sensitive Assistance Robot

The aim of the research project “Attention-Sensitive Assistance Robot” (ASARob) was to develop new skills for interactive assistive robots - in particular, new image processing solutions - so that they can detect the state of attention of their human counterpart and, if appropriate, influence and direct it through their behavior. 

Robotic home assistant Care-O-bot 3: possible application areas in everyday support

Mobile Emergency Assistant

Robot Companion for the Elderly

ACCOMPANY - Integrated robot technologies for supporting elderly people in their homes