Robots save from loneliness: peculiarities of smart homes for seniors30 August 2016
Many advanced technologies, including those related to the Internet of Things (IoT), are focused primarily on the younger generation and hyper-socialized millenials, who are versed in modern gadgets. However, youth is only a third of a person's life, at best. Therefore, when developing and introducing innovations, we should take into account interests of the older generation as well. That's what Kevin Gaunt said, when introducing the concept of a smart home for the senior citizens.
Solution for the elderly - smart home with many robotic assistants
Today, there are a lot of useful devices and services, tailored to the needs of the seniors. For example, a smart thermostat and online medical consultant, who can tell you, which medications to take for high blood pressure or other symptoms. But according to Kevin Gaunt it is not enough since many elderly people live alone and find it difficult to cope with everyday tasks, such as to go shopping, water the lawn, calculate expenses, etc.
Kevin Gaunt suggests equipping smart homes for the seniors with various automated assistants that will perform housekeeping tasks, as well as entertain users. The series of robots should be connected to a single home network and have user-friendly interface. All robots should be able to interact with each other, performing their functions in particular field at the same time.
To control all these robots is quite easy. The American designer has developed a special device that looks like a box with a set of buttons, which can be placed on the wall. Each button is responsible for a particular task.
In what situations the elderly may use bots?
Kevin Gaunt gave three examples of bots utilization:
1. Bot can order a surprise gift for the owner in case the latter is feeling down. The device will monitor online shops, find the present according to the user’s taste, compare gift price with the budget and order the delivery.
2. Robotic assistant can monitor location of too annoying neighbors, and warn the owner when they're at the door. The bot owner can decide whether to open the door or not.
3. Robot can become a real friend and companion that will help to cope with the death of a loved one. The bot can order the same food, as a deceased spouse did, or play favorite games of the couple.
The author of the project says the future of smart homes is not in full automation, but rather in implementation of communication function. According to Gaunt, robots should be like pets at home, but with useful features, provoking positive emotions and feelings.