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According to information summarized from the U.S. Bureau of Census, the population of people 85 and older is expected to increase 39.3 percent by the year 2000 and 33.2 percent between the years 2000 and 2010.
Flo reminds her when it's time to take her medicine and even opens the bottle lids when her arthritis flares up. Flo regularly checks her vital signs and communicates this information to her doctor's office. Flo isn't a nurse--she's a Nursebot, a personal robotic assistant designed to help the elderly.
This futuristic scenario could happen sooner than you think. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh are developing Flo, a robot that can assist the physically dependent with daily living.
This Nursebot will help researchers explore the ways autonomous mobile robots can help the elderly live independently in their own homes. This research represents a different approach to aiding the aging. According to Sebastian Thrun, assistant professor in the Center for Automated Learning and Discovery, "Flo is unique in the range of tools being developed to assist the elderly. It's a personal assistant, as opposed to an intelligent wheelchair or smart walking aid."
The interdisciplinary research project is testing several way to improve the quality of life and medical care to the elderly through human-robot interaction, such as: