Interactive robot ‘Pharos’ helps the elderly exercise

Researchers are working on an interactive robot called Pharos that will help the elderly with their daily household chores.

Photo
Interactive robot ‘Pharos’ helps the elderly exercise and detects underlying health problems
Source: Asociación RUVID

According to the latest report on the evolution of worldwide population submitted by the United Nations, 13 percent of today’s population is over 60 years of age. By 2050, this percentage will almost double, reaching 25 percent. The ageing of society is a reality, and technologies are adapting day-to-day to this demographic change.

Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), the Universidad de Alicante (UA) and the Universidade do Minho are working on an interactive robot called Pharos that will help the elderly with their daily household chores. “Our objective is to turn Pharos into another companion of the elderly. A virtual assistant, friendly and easy to use, which regularly recommends personalised physical activities, promoting a healthy life and facilitating the active ageing of the population,” highlights Vicente Julián, researcher at the Computer Technology and Artificial Intelligence Group of the UPV.

Pharos is based on a commercial robot, Pepper, to which researchers have added two modules: The first recommends an exercise plan adapted to each user, and the second, through advanced AI techniques, assesses completion of the exercise, verifies whether the user has completed it correctly through deep learning by comparing it to a library of stored exercises, and registers them on the system.

The robot also includes a visual and physical interface that the user will interact with in order to identify them through a camera. “Once they are identified, Pharos determines the most appropriate exercises depending on their capabilities. Furthermore, the exercise programme is regularly adapted to the evolution and health of the user. To this effect, it includes a recommendation algorithm which can even help detect health issues,” explains Ester Martínez, researcher of the Robotics and Three-dimensional Vision Group (RoViT) of the UA.

The main difference of Pharos compared to other similar systems is the detailed monitoring of users, as well as the possibility to determine whether they are performing the exercises correctly or not. It is a very useful tool for carers and assistants, as it makes it possible to easily check if the ability to perform certain exercises diminishes, which can reveal progressive physical and/or cognitive problems. “Low performance when conducting the planned exercises can indicate some sort of issue with the user. And, by registering the exercise history, Pharos can help reveal underlying problems which would otherwise be impossible to see,” explain the researchers.

The Spanish-Portuguese research team is currently working on perfecting the user-robot interactions, optimising the exercise recognition system and making it possible for several users to use it without interfering with the others, making use of planification strategies.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Robot toys provide clues about infant development

Robot toys provide clues about infant development

New research shows that using robots could help detect early signs of autism or ADHD in infants.

Personalized deep learning equips robots for autism therapy

Personalized deep learning equips robots for autism therapy

Machine learning network offers personalized estimates of children’s behavior.

Researcher add salt to Pepper

Researcher add salt to Pepper

Researchers performed a detailed security assessment of Pepper, a commercial humanoid robot. They found that the robot is frighteningly easy to hack.

When the robot smiles back

When the robot smiles back

Researchers use AI to teach robots to make appropriate reactive human facial expressions, an ability that could build trust between humans and their robotic co-workers and care-givers.

Scientists tests elder care robot

Scientists tests elder care robot

A robot created by Washington State University scientists could help elderly people with dementia and other limitations live independently in their own homes.

Are culturally competent robots the future in elderly care?

Are culturally competent robots the future in elderly care?

Robots that assist the elderly while adapting to the culture of the individual they are caring for are now being tested in retirement homes.

Robots as partners in rehabilitation

Robots as partners in rehabilitation

Trust should play a crucial part in the development of intelligent machines like robots for medical therapies, say researchers from University of Freiburg.

Personalized deep learning equips robots for autism therapy

Personalized deep learning equips robots for autism therapy

Machine learning network offers personalized estimates of children’s behavior.

Electronic skin – the next generation of wearables

Electronic skin – the next generation of wearables

Electronic skins will play a significant role in monitoring, personalized medicine, prosthetics, and robotics.

Popular articles

Subscribe to Newsletter