Older people test prototype robotic care assistant

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roboticThis week in Stockport, groups of older people across the borough will be getting involved with testing a new prototype robotic assistant.

When this prototype goes to market, it is hoped that it will help people who are struggling to maintain stability and walk independently.

There will be five Robotic Assistants being tested with supervision from staff to assess their suitability and helpfulness. The assistants called LEA (Lean Elderly Assistant) will be in several locations for the next three weeks as part of a four year European funded programme, which Stockport Council has been involved with partners from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The aim of this programme is to develop new robotic solutions that can help older people stay in their own homes longer and maintain their independence.

The Project Silver (Supporting Independence for the Elderly through Robotics) has seen a long running competition that has helped European Small Businesses develop brand new robotic solutions to help older people in their homes.

Robot Care Systems has been busy testing the robotic assistants in the five different countries and they will be in Stockport this week. After these tests, the company wants to get LEA on the market soon in order to contribute to the growing interest in robotic solutions and use of IT in health and social care.

Mark Fitton, Stockport Council’s Director of Operations Adult Social Care, said “We have been watching the progress of Project Silver which has been very exciting, and now we are at the best stage where we get to test the best solutions here in Stockport. Stockport Council is proud to take part in Project Silver and, along with partners Innovate UK, has received financial support from the European Union for their valuable role.”

Dr Maja Rudinac, CEO at Robot Care Systems, said: “This week marks the last test and the most challenging for us as we get see how our robotic assistants perform in a more home based setting here in the UK. We have been developing this from our initial plans at the start of Project Silver and it is great to see LEA now in the hands of the people who will benefit the most from it.”

Andy Bleaden, the Project Manager from Stockport Council, said: “These tests will help see what last bits of improvements are needed for the robotic assistants before this excellent company move to market LEA in the next few years. Without this funding and cooperation we would never have got to this stage so quickly from an idea to market. We would like to thank the European Union and Innovate UK for the financial support we have received for this and extend a warm welcome to Robot Care Systems and wish them all the best for the future.”

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