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The future of elderly care?

Helper robots "a bit like R2D2" on the way

Published torsdag 2 maj 2013 kl 15.16
"It's 24-hour support"
(5:55 min)
A prototype of the robot being tested in Lund. Photo: Lund Technical University

A research project funded by the EU hopes to have developed helper robots within the next four to six years. The friendly helpers will be able to pick things up off the ground, fetch a pair of glasses or alert neighbours if an elderly person has fallen.

Radio Sweden spoke to Susanne Frennert, a PhD candidate in rehabilitation technology at Lund University in Sweden, one of the researchers working on the project, called Hobbit.

"It's a bit like R2D2, but it has a giraffe neck as well, so the head is not joined with the body in that way," says Frennert. "You can give it commands and it will follow your instructions. You can use the touchsreen and gestures to communicate with is as well."

Frennert says the current model costs aroun €14,000, but that widespread use of the robots would bring the price down. An idea is to have elderly people rent the robot and pay a fee every month.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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