It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.
Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and reducing their workload, thereby giving them more time to interact with patients and residents. Great potential for workload reduction, in terms of both health benefits and time savings, is offered by the actual nursing process, which is where the intelligent care cart is designed to help.
In a first prototype, the scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have equipped the mobile platform of the Care-O-bot® 4 service robot with a new body that can be stocked with care utensils. If the care cart is connected to the call system of the care home or hospital, it can travel automatically to the room from which the patient has rung.
The built-in touchscreen allows the care staff to confirm their presence and, once the robot is no longer required, to free it up for its next assignment. In addition, the carer can use the display to easily record which care utensils they have consumed.
Improvements for day-to-day work
Conventional care carts do not offer optimal assistance for care staff. Especially in an emergency, the cart is often not where the staff need it to be. Also, it is often insufficiently stocked with supplies. This costs the staff valuable time, because they first have to go and fetch any missing supplies from the storeroom, which can involve walking long distances inside the care home or hospital.
Even if electronic media are used, it takes the care staff a lot of time to record the kind of care they have administered and the supplies they have consumed, which is why they are often forced to carry out such work after the end of their shift.
“Our goal is to further develop the care cart in such a way that its intelligent assistive features facilitate the day-to-day work of care staff. For example, the cart should always be where the nurse needs it to be. This saves legwork,” explains Dr. Birgit Graf, Group Manager for Domestic and Personal Robotics at Fraunhofer IPA. For this purpose, the cart is equipped with a navigation system to enable it to travel autonomously to where it is needed. Any obstacles it encounters on the way are automatically detected and avoided. As an alternative to being connected to the call system, the cart can also be called using a smartphone.
In subsequent stages of development, there are plans to design the cart to automatically follow the care staff. A fully automated mechanism will enable the cart to make supplies available to the nurse in an ergonomic and hygienic manner. The nurse will record the care they have administered directly in the patient’s room using the display on the care cart. Finally, the scientists at Fraunhofer IPA plan to study the possibilities for connection to an automated central storeroom that will restock the care cart, electronically monitor inventories and reorder as required.
Care cart as part of the “SeRoDi” project
The intelligent care cart is being developed as part of a four-year collaborative project called “Service Robotics for Assistance with Personal Services” (SeRoDi). The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the project with almost three million euros. Fraunhofer IPA is collaborating with the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units (ISW) and the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management (IAT) from the University of Stuttgart, the University of Greifswald as well as Altenpflegeheime Mannheim (Mannheim Nursing Homes) and the University Clinic of Mannheim as end users.
The goal is to implement three application scenarios from an everyday nursing environment and, in several evaluation cycles, to study the extent to which the new technologies can deliver improvements in the day-to-day work of the staff. In addition to the intelligent medication cart, the project partners are working to further develop the multifunctional “ELEVON” lifter, which is equipped with assistive features designed to help care staff with the lifting and transport of patients. The third application scenario involves a “mobile kiosk”, which, when called, can bring such items as snacks, drinks or magazines to the residents or patients either in the lounge or directly to their bed.
Wider dissemination of service robots
The project partners plan to leave the implemented assistive systems in the care homes or hospitals after the end of the project in order to allow them to be used, among other things, as demonstrators for other homes or hospitals. “We hope that the SeRoDi project will not only lead to the development and testing of new applications, but also enable us to gain new development and application partners in an effort to further promote the use of service robots in the medical and care sector,” emphasizes Birgit Graf.
See a video on Youtube that demonstrates how the medical care cart works:
Dr.-Ing. Birgit Graf, Phone: +49 711-970 1910; email@example.com
Karin Röhricht | Telefon +49 711 970-3874 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jörg-Dieter Walz | Telefon +49 711 970-1667 | email@example.com
Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA | Nobelstraße 12 | 70569 Stuttgart
Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT
TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy