In development for a few years, a new robotic caregiver is now being tested in senior's homes. The CareBot, developed by GeckoSystems, is now doing caregiver duties through in-home trials. The robot, which can be programmed to speak in various tones and to speak certain words in response to questions, can assist with daily tasks and give reminders to a senior with memory loss.
Manufactured out of steel, aluminum and plastic, the CareBot moves around on two wheels. The onboard computers, combined with lots of software allow CareBot to be remotely accessed for video and audio monitoring.
The target market for the CareBot is seniors over age 65, who live alone in large metropolitan areas with braodband internet service available. The company likens the CareBot to another home appliance, such as the dishwasher, as it can do tasks to help caregivers and seniors save time.
What tasks can the CareBot do?
- Tells Jokes
- Announce Medication Reminders
- Play Songs
- Alert When Visitors Arrive at Door
- Give Reminders ("Your daughter will be here at 10 a.m.")
- Give Notifications to other Caregivers (if a fall occurs)
- Visit Family Virtually through Video System
Cost? The company says the financial payback for seniros will take place in a year - so the cost is more than a few laptop computers. The CareBot is not yet ready for market and an exact price is not available. The company has spent $6 million on development and expects to offer the CareBot through computer retailers in 4 to 6 months.
While advances in technology are assisting seniors to live longer, the CareBot brings a technology solution to caregiving, to assist seniors to live at home longer. However, no computer will ever be able to replace the human heart when it comes to caregiving.
But if it can fold clothes, I'll take one!