Comment from Clive: Can robots put the social back into social care?

clive-gilbertWould you entrust a robot with your care? According to a poll conducted by YouGov last year, around half of us would like robots to perform domestic tasks for disabled and older people.

The UK is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to building autonomous systems for the home. Dyson’s 360 robot vacuum cleaner is heavily influenced by the company’s collaboration with Imperial College London which has produced world leading research on robot vision. The University of Edinburgh is studying how a robot might be able to decipher their owner’s instructions to learn to carry out a daily living task by interpreting their verbal communications, eye movements and hand gestures. Perhaps the most ambitious project is Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire’s three-year project to design social humanoid robots with capabilities ranging from giving medication and connecting to household appliances, to providing companionship and facilitating communication with loved ones and health care professionals.

Continue reading “Comment from Clive: Can robots put the social back into social care?”

Comment from Clive: Smarter neighbourhoods of the future will require more than technological wizardry

clive-gilbertOf all the social problems confronting Britain today, the housing shortage is one of the most vexing. Estimates suggest that the gap between the number of new homes needed in England and those available is 100,000 per year.

While outdated planning laws and political controversy conspire to slow construction to a trickle, a generational divide continues to widen between younger people who can barely afford to rent and the swelling ranks of older home owners living in oversized properties which are not suited to the practicalities of daily life as an older person.

Continue reading “Comment from Clive: Smarter neighbourhoods of the future will require more than technological wizardry”

Comment from Clive: The digital divide between older and young people represents a wasted opportunity for the technology industry

clive-gilbertOlder people have many advantages over the young. The accumulation of years brings experience, wisdom and contentment. Older age can also be a time of discovery, when the commitments of family and working life recede and give way to personal interests and pursuits.

While older people have far more opportunities for self fulfilment in later life than ever before, they are still less likely to be able to enjoy the benefits of the digital age. The latest figures show that people aged 65 and over are less likely to have access to the internet or own a smartphone and tend to value the postal system as a means of regular communication more than others.

Continue reading “Comment from Clive: The digital divide between older and young people represents a wasted opportunity for the technology industry”

Robots for Independent Living: Do they ‘care’ or are they ‘assistive’?

Praminda Celeb-SollyDr Praminda Caleb-Solly, Head of Electronics and Computer Systems, Designability, is currently working with members of our team and external partners on CHIRON – a project to design and develop innovative robotics technology to enhance independence. Here, she questions the use of terminology and purpose of robots in the home.

Continue reading “Robots for Independent Living: Do they ‘care’ or are they ‘assistive’?”