Ubiquitous Robotics to Support Older Adults with Dementia
Keywords: intelligent robot, aging-in-place, activities of daily living (ADL), user customization, assistive technology.
Overview of Research
Dementia affects more than 35 million people worldwide, and according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada there are currently 700,000 Canadians living with dementia. The cognitive deficits related to this disease (e.g., memory loss, communication or reasoning disorders) affect the ability of older adults to independently go through their activities of daily living (ADL). One strategy that has gained significant attraction is the use of technology that can support aging-in-place, so that older adults maintain independence and quality-of-life longer. These solutions have included systems that can support older adults with dementia during self-care activities through the use of prompts, technologies to support safety in the home such as monitoring falls and other potential accidents, and the use of robotics for cognitive support and training. However, as these systems are currently embedded into specific locations in the home, they are immobile, static and lack “social” interactions, which could affect users’ engagement during ADLs.
One solution to tackle these issues is to implement technologies that support aging-in-place on a robotic platform. Hence, the goal of this project is to develop a robot-cloud platform to extend the capabilities of CrossWing’s robotic platform, virtualME (See Figure 1), using a cloud-based architecture, and to expand on the current research programs of the academic team to deliver services that have been determined as critical in supporting older adults with dementia in the home:
- Activity monitoring and prompting,
- Safety and emergency response.
Our primary research and development work will consist of:
- Determining the various algorithms that will need to be integrated and further developed, and which of these will be operated from the cloud-based platform versus locally on the robot.
- Integration of core algorithms to support the above new services, specifically algorithms related:
- Behavior reasoning and
- User customization
- Extension of three services (described above) onto the robotic platform.
- Integration of the overall system, which will then be tested for functionality, safety, and usability.
Figure 1. VirtualMe Platform
Alex Mihailidis, University of Toronto
Bing Ye, Project Manager, University of Toronto
Emilie M.D. Jean-Baptiste, Post-doctoral fellow, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Goldie Nejat, University of Toronto
Sheila Mcllraith, University of Toronto
François Michaud, University of Sherbrooke
Steve Sutherland, CrossWing
Steven Shapiro, University of Toronto
Shayne Lin, University of Toronto
Sanjif Rajaratnam, University of Toronto
Dominic Létourneau, University of Sherbrooke
Sébastien Laniel, University of Sherbrooke