It has been demonstrated that designing for disabled people often yields products that are better for the population at large. For example, sidewalk curb-cuts for wheelchair users turn out to benefit delivery people, skate-boarders, and people with canes, crutches, baby carriages, shopping carts and wheelie luggage. Or OXO kitchen tools, originally designed for elderly people with arthritis, has transformed the kitchen tool industry.
Nursebot is designed to help the elderly live independently rather than being forced into nursing homes. This personal mobile robotic assistant can help the elderly with daily tasks, provide companionship and even help them to remotely communicate with physicians and caregivers.
NurseBot combines leading edge research in robotics, artificial intelligence, interaction design, health care, and social science and psychology to deliver functions such as Intelligent Reminding, Tele-presence, Data-collection and Surveillance, Mobile Manipulation, and Social Interaction.
The goal of the NurseBot project is to develop mobile, personal service robots that assist elderly people suffering from chronic disorders in their everyday life. “Pearl”, the NurseBot is an autonomous mobile robot that “lives” in a private home of a chronically ill elderly person. The robot provides a research platform to test out a range of ideas for assisting elderly people, such as: What would you like to have a robot help out with around the house?
For the rising tide of elderly people, having a reliable assistant who can help with daily tasks and provide a level of companionship could be the difference between being able to live independently and being forced into a nursing home. It would also change the way health care is delivered, so these seniors could remain in their homes and enjoy a better quality of life for as long as possible. These are the stakes for robots like Pearl the NurseBot.