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SARA: The robot targeting European elderly care
Across Europe, an ageing population and a shortage of carers is putting serious pressure on nursing homes and hospitals. However the Social & Autonomous Robotic health Assistant (SARA) may be able to help. We look at the robot and how it could help alleviate strain.
Images courtesy of SARA
The result of a consortium that includes EIT Digital, Bright Cape, Forum Virium Helsinki, GIM Robotics, Curamatik and TU Berlin, SARA is designed to help lighten to load of nurses without replacing them by providing interaction with patients.Through a system known as SARA Home, the robot can be designed to interact with each patient using a personalised profile, allowing its interactions to be tailored as required.
Currently in the pilot stage of development, SARA is being trialled in nursing homes in Finland and the Netherlands, with a particular focus on using the robot to help delay the development of dementia. SARA can conduct weekly exercises with individual patients that are designed to help improve their mental and physical fitness and so delay the onset of the second stage of the condition.
More capabilities are planned for the future. Next year, SARA will be given a navigation algorithm to enable the robot to freely roam within set areas of nursing facilities, enabling it to better interact with patients. There are also plans to commercialise the robot through a startup, with Germany, Finland and the Netherlands planned as initial target markets.
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