Rice and IBM Explore Watson-Powered Robot Designed to Aid Elderly and Caregivers

IBM Research and Rice University created the prototype IBM Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (IBM MERA), an application designed to aid the elderly and assist caregivers. Watson is a question-answering computer system developed by IBM.

To help improve eldercare, IBM opened a new “Aging in Place” environment in its ThinkLab in Austin, designed to mimic the types of interactions elderly people have in their homes. By leveraging IBM MERA, the Internet of Things, and other cognitive-powered technologies, IBM studies how data from atmospheric, motion, audio and olfactory sensors could be used by the ecosystem of caregivers to improve health care as physical or environmental conditions change.

IBM MERA studies innovative ways of measuring an individual’s vital signs such as heart rate, heart rate variability, and respiratory rate. It answers basic health-related questions and determines whether an individual has fallen down by reading the results of an accelerometer.

IBM specializes in developing continuous, passive, and automatic sensors to simultaneously measure bio and behavioral markers. CameraVitals calculates vital signs by recording video of a person’s face.

These technologies give fast, noninvasive readings on a patient’s heart and breathing measurements that can be done many times per day. The camera can also view whether someone has fallen down and provide information for caregivers.

IBM MERA interacts with individuals using IBM Watson Speech to Text, Text to Speech, and Natural Language Classifier applications so researchers can study how they can receive answers to health-related questions such as “What are the symptoms of anxiety?” and “What is my heart rate?”

Source: Rice and IBM Explore Watson-Powered Robot Designed to Aid Elderly and Caregivers
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