The National Robotarium has partnered with Leuchie House, a dedicated respite centre delivering individualised breaks for people living with the long-term effects of a range of neurological conditions, to trial technologies that could help people with assisted living needs and those who care for them gain greater independence.
According to the project, one million people in Scotland live with a neurological condition, and 10% are disabled as a result. For many, both professional and unpaid carers provide essential support at home to carry out daily tasks and enable access to leisure activities that support wellbeing. However, emerging technologies have been shown to help return independence.
The partnership will see researchers from the National Robotarium’s Assisted Living Lab work in collaboration with guests at Leuchie House to develop advanced technologies that address specific needs.
Robotics and AI technologies will be developed at the National Robotarium to help people with a wide range of assistive needs. For example, to provide support after a stroke and to monitor for deterioration in conditions such as dementia. By combining sensor technology and robotics, data can be collected over longer periods of time, helping to monitor patients and alert carers to when a care package may need to be reviewed.
Professor Lynne Baillie, head of the Assisted Living Lab at the National Robotarium, said: “Our partnership with Leuchie House will allow us to work collaboratively with their guests and carers to develop assisted living technology that truly works for users. We will engage directly with individuals to learn more about their unique needs and hear their ideas about how robotic and sensing technologies could provide support.
“Guests will then be invited to our Assisted Living Lab at the National Robotarium to participate in trials of technologies designed to meet these needs in a realistic home setting.”
Furthermore, Leuchie House recently opened The Centre for Enabling Technology to trial and test technology that can support the needs of people with assisted living requirements. The Centre will offer assessments and trials of mainstream and emerging technologies for guests, provide training for individuals, their families and carers, and deliver ongoing support at home.
Examples of tasks that technology can help users complete include opening doors, switching lights on and off, opening and closing curtains, watching TV, listening to the radio and making phone calls.
Mark Bevan, CEO at Leuchie House, added: “Our technology team works with guests to install similar technologies at home, giving them and those who care for them more independence and complementing residential short breaks.
“This exciting partnership between the National Respite Centre and the National Robotarium is a further example of how we can build on the past and re-imagine respite for the future.”