Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

    First-of-its-kind humanoid robot deployed in nursing home to help patients with Alzheimer’s 

    Humanoid robots have been deployed at a Minnesota nursing home to care for patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

    Developed by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota, these robots are equipped to help individuals with their emotional, physical and cognitive health. They are believed to be the first in the US to focus on caring for patients with dementia.

    “I love making history with my students by deploying humanoid robots in nursing homes to care for our elderly,” said Arshia Khan, a professor of computer science at the University of Minnesota at the Swenson College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Duluth.

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    The humanoid robots are intended to provide a wide range of support and help patients experiencing early-stage Alzheimer’s. Pictured above is one of the robots

    One robot is a two-meter-tall model called NAO, and the other is four-feet tall and known as Pepper – but Khan insists the machine will complement human workers rather than replace them.

    “They’re more for cognition and emotional support,” she told by phone. “They try to improve their mood by telling jokes and stories.”

    The robots will also do something called reminiscence therapy; in its traditional form, people and objects from one’s past would be regularly brought together in the nursing home to help them reminisce.

    “In robotics, we can show the robot pictures, videos and music from that era and remind them of that specific event,” explains Khan, who has a total of 25 robots in her lab.

    Computer science professor Arshia Khan, pictured above with two robots from her lab, emphasized that the robots will not displace human workers, but will instead perform tasks that are more repetitive in nursing homes.

    ‘The robot can dance, sing, play music and interact.

    “For fun, the robot can lead a bingo session.”

    “This is a big step and the beginning in helping to improve the quality of life of the elderly and people with dementia using humanoid robots,” she adds.

    Khan’s own interest in robotics stems from a personal experience watching her mother struggle to care for her father, who suffered from congestive heart failure.

    Khan’s interest in robots as caregivers stems from a personal experience.

    Her father had congestive heart failure and was dying – and Khan watched her mother, who is petite, struggle to get him out of bed and care for him.

    At the time, she wished she could have designed an artificial heart for him.

    Khan began to think about other ways to support people in these circumstances.

    Due to a growing elderly population and a growing number of people with dementia, there will be more demand for employees in nursing homes. Pictured above is Khan and one of her robots

    She started working with a cardiothoracic surgeon on a robot that would help people get out of bed.

    “If we don’t look for alternative solutions and think outside the box, our elderly will suffer.” Khan, pictured above, is a computer science professor at the University of Minnesota

    Khan notes that there is a need for help for the elderly and a growing population of people with dementia.

    The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 1 billion people over the age of 60, and that will increase to 1.4 billion by 2030 – that’s one in six people, who may need millions of nurses and home care assistants.

    As with other fields disrupted by machines, the robots in nursing homes will perform some of the more repetitive tasks of freeing people up for other work.

    Khan said nursing homes in other states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, have contacted the robots.

    “Humanoid robots in helping the elderly are the way forward in caring for our elderly,” Khan says.

    “The growth of the elderly population and the simultaneous growth of people with dementia, staff shortages and lack of people who can care for our elderly is a problem that is growing exponentially.

    “If we don’t look for alternative solutions and think outside the box, our elderly will suffer.”

    This facility is the first of eight nursing homes in Minnesota to start using humanoid robots, and the other nursing homes will get their robots in the coming weeks.

    The robot’s deployment was made possible in part thanks to a $2 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.


    Physical jobs in predictable environments, including machine operators and fast food workers, are most likely to be replaced by robots.

    New York-based management consultancy McKinsey focused on how many jobs would be lost to automation and which occupations were most at risk.

    According to the report, data collection and processing are two other categories of activities that can be done better and faster with machines.

    This could displace large amounts of labor, for example in mortgages, legal work, accounting and back office transaction processing.

    Conversely, jobs in unpredictable environments pose the least risk.

    The report added: ‘Professions such as gardeners, plumbers or child and elder care providers – will also generally become less automated by 2030, as they are technically difficult to automate and often have relatively lower wages, making automation a less attractive business. makes. proposal.’


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