Vilans is developing an advanced version of the Guardian care robot together with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The initiative, which is part of the international Guardian project is being carried out with the cooperation of Zorggroep Noordwest-Veluwe (ZNWV), a Dutch care organisation. Vilans researcher and coordinator Henk Herman Nap: “With the Guardian robot, the informal caregiver knows from a distance where his or her family member has fallen and, by directing the robot to the location, can establish a speech-image connection.”
A major social challenge is that family caregivers are finding it increasingly difficult to combine their work and care tasks. If you add the growing shortages in healthcare, it is clear that something has to be done. Henk Herman Nap: “With Guardian, we want to develop a robot for coaching, monitoring and social contact. The robot will also allow the district nurse or informal carer to keep an eye on his or her client or relative from a distance. We are aiming at care professionals and informal carers who look after elderly people living at home.”
Both national and international partners are working together on the Guardian project which will last three years. The project is in response to the increasing pressure on care professionals and caregivers: a development that is occurring not only in the Netherlands, but also in neighbouring European countries.
Nap continues: “The Guardian robot is going to be more widely deployable and a lot more advanced than existing models. For example, it has sensors that create an accurate image of the house, just like a radar, so that the robot knows where the person is and what might be going on. The robot can also move around the house. In addition, a 4G chip allows the robot to be used as a video phone. The eyes of the robot are displays that can express emotion or display other information. You can also add on an extra computer, making the robot more intelligent. And should the robot’s battery run out, it will look for a charging point on its own.”
Dutch partners in the Guardian project: Vilans, Eindhoven University of Technology, Zorggroep Noordwest-Veluwe, ConnectedCare and smartrobot.solutions.