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Carebots: Family Care & Personal Assistance

  • Published: 2015-11-26 (Revised/Updated 2016-06-11) : Author: Thomas C. Weiss : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Information regarding the use of CareBots as an automated caregiver system for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Main Document

"The CareBot notifies designated caregivers when a potentially harmful event has happened such as a fire in the home, a fall on the part of the care receiver, or if the person has simply not been found by the CareBot for too long."

GeckoSystems is dedicated to providing, 'Mobile Service Robots (MSR's),' to families in need of assistance with their senior loved ones. The company has named their specialized MSR the, 'CareBot,' and it is also ideal for keeping an eye on active children or for monitoring a family member with disabilities. The CareBot was the first senior care assistance robot to be tested in an actual home environment. Feedback about the need for caregiver assistance during the company's trials and marketing studies indicate the CareBot should be readily accepted.

How CareBots Work

A CareBot MSR is built on a, 'BaseBot,' using GeckoNave, GeckoChat and GeckoTrak to perform timely and cost effective duties for caregivers to better provide care for their care receivers. GeckoZap is used by support personnel to perform maintenance on the CareBot. GeckoNav, GeckoChat and GeckoTrak are primary GeckoSavants. GeckoNav is responsible for all completely autonomous maneuvering such as avoiding static or dynamic obstacles, patrolling, or running errands. GeckoChat is responsible for interaction with the care receiver such as answering question's, assisting with daily reminders and routines and responding to verbal commands. GeckoTrak, which is mostly transparent to the user, enables CareBot to maintain proximity to the care receiver using sensor fusion. The CareBot is an Internet appliance that is accessible for remote video and audio monitoring, as well as telepresence.

Seniors often times endure loneliness and/or a loss of independence while living in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. A CareBot will postpone - if not eliminate, trauma to them. Family members can now better manage the difficult decisions concerning independence they allow their now dependent parent while minimizing the risk the adult caregiver is willing to assume for a prudent level of independence for their parent. As with an automobile, mobile robots are made from aluminum, steel, electronics and plastic, although with ten to twenty times the amount of software running. The CareBot has:

Microprocessors A plastic shroud An aluminum frame Multiple sensor systems Two independently driven wheels A number of on-board computers connected in a local area network or, 'LAN'

Benefits of the CareBot

CareBots have a number of benefits for not only the care receiver, but family members as well. These benefits include cost effective monitoring, virtual visits, automatic reminders, companionship and automatic emergency notification. What follows are descriptions of these benefits.

Companionship: The CareBot is a new kind of companion that always remains close to the care receiver, enabling family members and friends to care for them from afar. It will hold various levels of conversation with the care receiver. The voice, personality and phrases can be customized.

Automatic Reminders: The CareBot reminds the care receiver to take medication, reminds them that family members are coming over soon and it has the ability to alert them when there are unexpected visitors - or if intruders are present. The CareBot will also keep track of visits to the doctor.

Virtual Visits: Working parents of all ages desire assistance in caring for their children as a result of working long hours and having to commute back and forth from their workplace. The ability to virtually visit their children from work, as they travel, or anywhere they have Internet access is now possible. Working parents can watch their children in a window on their computer monitors while they are at work.

Automatic Emergency Notification: The CareBot notifies designated caregivers when a potentially harmful event has happened such as a fire in the home, a fall on the part of the care receiver, or if the person has simply not been found by the CareBot for too long. The CareBot responds to calls for help and has the ability to call 911 or, prior to resorting to 911, work its way through a list of designated emergency contacts.

Cost Effective Monitoring: Seniors living in nursing homes receive attention from nurses nine minutes each day, on average. Nursing homes are expensive, around $45,000 to $60,000 per year and are not always convenient or easy for family members to physically visit. There is a crisis for cost effective assistance. Concern for their parents is on of the main reasons for adult children to purchase a senior care enabled CareBot. The CareBot will monitor the care receiver on a constant basis and it is only a one-time cost that eventually pays for itself.

CareBot Home Trials

GeckoSystems has been performing in-home trials of senior care personal assistance robots since the year 2002. The trials have made a valuable contribution to the development and design of the CareBot. Input from care givers and the responses of senior loved ones plainly demonstrates that next-generation practical, personal companion robots have the ability to assist caregivers to perform critical senior care monitoring and extend the time that people can live independently. The CareBot home care robot is capable of assisting in senior care in a number of real-life situations, such as frequent welfare checks, on-time medication reminders and virtual visits by family members that give a sense of security, safety and being reminded that they are loved and cherished as members of the family.

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