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Robot carers developed

9th November 2010

Scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England are working on robots to care for the elderly.

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They are attempting to come up with care options for Britain's ageing population. Since 1985 the amount of people over the age of 85 has doubled.

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory think older people could use robots in order to remain in their own homes and to be independent.

A project called Mobiserv allows elderly people to use a robot to order their shopping and also gives them reminders about when to take medication.

Mobiserv, which has been funded by a grant from the EU of £3.5 million, has a duration of three years and involves seven countries.

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory is also developing a robotic system which can help people who have had a stroke to recover strength in their hands.

Professor Heinz Wolff, who had some involvement in developing early robotic prototypes to aid elderly people, said he did not believe the robots could become a replacement for human carers.

He said: "I'm quite sure that when you are the venerable age that I've reached and somebody says your robot is going to be delivered tomorrow and it will look after you, you will be a little unhappy."

"You might wonder how nice it would be to have someone who had warm hands and someone who cares and gives you a peck on the cheek. Mind you, a robot could kiss you I suppose - imagine being kissed by a robot," he added.

 

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