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 Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize
19.11.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers use MRI to predict Alzheimer's disease

20.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

How to melt gold at room temperature

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>