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 

Sweat analyzing sensor patch flies high at USAF Research Lab

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/USAF-sweat-sensor.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Call them ‘sticky sensors’, biosensor tattoos or as you like, but there’s been a lot of research happening in the past three years around gathering biometrics from skin contact. Whether it’s the John Rogers ‘skunk works’ at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign measuring ECG, EEG and cardiovascular conditions; University of California-San Diego’s lactate and blood glucose monitoring; MC10’s Biostamp for infant temperature, head impacts and neurological disorders plus NewDealDesign‘s multi-purpose implants, skin is in. Though the Apple Watch was flummoxed (for now) by biometrics due to hairy arms and sweat [TTA 18 Feb], these sensors thrive on the latter. The US Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory has been working on sweat analytic sensors for some time now [TTA 24 Apr 14]. (more…)

Stick on that comfy sensor patch

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/skinpatch-1-John-Rogers.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] From the head researcher (John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) who brought you biodegradable implanted batteries and sensors [TTA 26 March], comes an almost tattoo-like stretchable sensor conforming to the skin which uses off-the-shelf, chip-based electronics for wireless monitoring. It is envisioned for wireless health tracking connecting to smartphones and computers, and for vital monitoring such as ECG and EEG testing, although this Editor would not use the term ‘clinical’ as Gizmodo has done (it is probably at the fairly sound level of an AliveCor.) However the article points out the advantages in long term use–adherence to skin is far more reliable, no dangling pendants or clunky bracelets, and it allows for multiple sensors to be worn comfortably. This type of patch would also be far kinder to the delicate skin of babies and the elderly. For them, it would make consistent long-term telehealth monitoring (e.g. blood pressure, ECG, O2, blood glucose) far easier over time. Perhaps the core of this is the PERS of the future with gait tracking and fall detection. Cost isn’t mentioned, but off the shelf elements undoubtedly are less expensive than custom/bespoke. Published in Science 4 April (abstract and summary; full text requires log in) Also see Editor Charles’ earlier take–maybe Mr. Rogers should speak to him!