Joseph Rowntree Foundation study emerging technologies to provide elderly at-home care.

The future’s bright, the future’s talking Zimmers and robo-pets

The technology used in robots such as Asimo may be used to help elderly people stay independent
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Published Date: 20 October 2009
By Craig Brown

WALKING frames that remind their users where they are going and coffee tables that act as home medicine dispensaries are just some of the technologies that could help cut down on care home bills and help older people live at home for longer, new research has suggested.

In the next 15 years, the number of over-65s in the UK is expected to increase by more than three million, and the number of dementia suffers is also predicted to rise.

A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Centre for Usable Home Technology at the University of York has recommended that to manage the pressure on services this rise will bring, councils could use various emerging technologies in order to provide at-home care.

In addition to such innovations as talking walking frames and dispensing coffee tables, the study suggests: the use of robo-pets that could offer companionship, and double up as fire, gas and intruder detectors; special exoskeleton suits that could be worn by the infirm to help them to keep mobile; and kitchen worktop and fridge screens to monitor larder contents, suggest recipes and produce automatic shopping lists.

Dr Kevin Doughty, of the JRF Centre for Usable Home Technology at the University of York, said councils are now faced with the challenge of planning to exploit emerging technologies.

Read more about emerging technologies for patient care here

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