Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fraunhofer IPA develops prototype of intelligent care cart

20.08.2015

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.


The intelligent care cart travels autonomously to where it is needed.

Fraunhofer IPA


The touchscreen allows the nurse to record which patient-care utensils have been consumed.

Fraunhofer IPA

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.

Further Information:
See a video on Youtube that demonstrates how the medical care cart works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM6uhWDfdqc&index=62

Contact Information:
Dr.-Ing. Birgit Graf, Phone: +49 711-970 1910; birgit.graf@ipa.fraunhofer.de

Editorial office:
Karin Röhricht | Telefon +49 711 970-3874 | karin.roehricht@ipa.fraunhofer.de

Press department:
Jörg-Dieter Walz | Telefon +49 711 970-1667 | presse@ipa.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA | Nobelstraße 12 | 70569 Stuttgart

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ipa.fraunhofer.de

Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smart Computers
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>