Drone ‘bots’ to help older adults in future

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/08ELDERBOT1-master675.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A Saturday Robot Fix! Short article in yesterday’s NY Times about development of tiny household drones to fetch medications and do other simple tasks around the house (like cleaning). These ‘Bibiddi Bobbidi Bots’ are under development at the University of Illinois. This Editor will take several to go clean. But do they do laundry? I’d rather take the new iteration of a 4′ Robby the Robot under development in Seattle by an ex-Microsofter who founded Hoaloha Robotics. Practical? Perhaps not, says Laurie Orlov of Age in Place Technology, who’s been up and down a few hype curves. And will it help older people stay connected, even though help around the house is always appreciated? The withering comment on the Jibo robot from a 91 year old at the end of the article does put a damper on it. Still, Robby could make me a dress of sapphires any old time (as did his namesake in Forbidden Planet). As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides 

Perhaps the cutest robot to date

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/20140715211029-Read_Important_Messages.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Responsive and fitting into the home for multiple ages works. Cute makes it a ‘want to buy’. JIBO may not be the first operative ‘family robot’ (the EU/UK MOBISERVE/Kompaï companion robot [TTA 23 Aug 2013] likely was), it’s not child-sized like the ‘Robot’ of ‘Robot and Frank’ nor the mini-me of ‘Jimmy the Humanoid Robot’, but it’s got the Cute Factor in abundance. It’s a robot designed along the lines of ‘social robotics’ that doesn’t try to look humanoid. It stands at a non-threatening 12 inches high, suitable for tables or desktop. It’s white topped by a large orb serving as a screen that plays videos, reminders and teleconferences. It also speaks. But the big difference is that it responds to touch–dramatically. JIBO moves like a dancer and its ‘face’ follows you. Its response is framed in a companionate way and it’s not a toy–it also does practical things like deliver messages and two-way conversation. It’s easy to think of this not only as a natural companion and connector for various ages in a home, but also where someone lives alone.  The development team headed by Dr. Cynthia Breazeal is delivering this at an attractive price point–$499 for a December 2015 delivery. It’s flown past its $100,000 Indiegogo goal (currently past $500,000) which is a gauge of its appeal. Can you, our Reader, imagine this in your home? Glowing article in Mashable, YouTube video), an grumpy review in Time (which maintains that wearables and smartphones are far more practical. No, it’s not The Gimlet Eye freelancing!)