Consequential Robotics Develops Robots to Aid Aging in Place
The Guardian recently published an article on the work of Consequential Robotics, a service-robotics startup based in London & Sheffield in the UK. The robots currently under development by the company seem to be geared towards the growing seniors demographic.
Sebastian Conran of Consequential Robotics treated Thomas McMullan of the Guardian to a demo of a prototype robotic dog named MiRo. The company envisions MiRO as both a companion and an extension of a in-home caregiver. This puts MiRO in the category of “aging in place” technologies.
Many older individuals don’t require round-the-clock care. They just need someone for a few hours a day, or maybe even a few times a week, to assist with heavier chores like laundry, cleaning, or meal preparation. But the older adult who lives alone is still vulnerable. MiRO is being designed to help seniors remember when to take their medicines, to clue them in on people’s names when they forget, and, perhaps most importantly, to keep a watchful eye on them.
MiRO can keep track of a senior’s routines and then alert someone if the senior hasn’t moved in a while or checked in. The dog is paired with a wristband that keeps track of the person’s vital signs and can send that information to a caregiver.
The University of Sheffield is also working in conjunction with the company on a smart bedside table. The robot table is being designed to move around, adjust itself to the user’s size, and eventually retrieve items and bring them to the user. The robot table might end up being more useful than MiRO, but it lacks the cute factor of the dog.
Consequential Robotics was founded by Sebastian Conran, a leading UK product designer, Professor Tony Prescott, Director of the Sheffield Robotics research institute, and Dr. Ben Mitchinson, a biomimetic roboticist. The home page states the company’s goal as being to develop assistive robotic systems. Hopefully we’ll see innovative technologies like these come to market soon.