Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The mobile emergency assistant from Fraunhofer IPA is getting ready for market

23.04.2013
Mobile communication system for the price of a good robotic vacuum cleaner: more safety and quality of life at home for the elderly and infirm.

At REHACARE 2012, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation unveiled a pioneering mobile emergency assistance system that combines an independently navigating, interactive service robot with a stationary sensor system designed to deliver external support to elderly and infirm persons to enable them to live longer in their own homes and with an improved quality of life.


In the event of a fall, MobiNa autonomously makes its way to the person in need.
Fraunhofer IPA


The sensor-system for fall detection can be placed up on high furniture or it will be mounted on the ceiling. The robot serves as a mobile communication system.
Fraunhofer IPA

In the meantime, researchers at Fraunhofer have made significant advances in readying the system for market: “MobiNa” has been made smaller and more manoeuvrable and serves its owner not only as a dependable helper in emergency situations, but also as a continuously available mobile communication system – on a robust and simple platform that can be reproduced at low cost.

“MobiNa is a mobile communication system in the same price class as a high-grade consumer electronics product or good robotic vacuum cleaner. In other words, it has been designed to be affordable for anyone who needs it,” says Dr. Birgit Graf, Group Manager for Domestic and Personal Robotics at Fraunhofer IPA. In everyday use, “MobiNa” serves as a “tablet computer on wheels” with video call functionality that also allows the user to skype with their grandchildren or to be reminded to take their medication. In an emergency, the mobile assistant, which operates in combination with a stationary sensor and camera system installed in the user’s home, detects the situation and, if necessary, establishes autonomous contact with an emergency call centre.

“A mobile communication system such as ‘MobiNa’ offers clear advantages compared to a conventional home emergency call system,” explains Ralf Simon King, research assistant in the Domestic and Personal Robotics group at Fraunhofer IPA and MobiNa product designer. Whereas an elderly or infirm person always needs to carry a conventional emergency call button around with them, “MobiNa” independently monitors the user’s situation and, if necessary, establishes immediate contact by video phone with a human at an emergency call centre, who can then assess the situation, give advice or, in critical cases, alert an emergency service. “This effectively avoids unnecessary callouts and false alarms,” says Ralf Simon King.

While, in terms of quality of the available functionalities, no compromises have been made in comparison with the system presented at REHACARE, which was based on Fraunhofer’s “Care-O-bot 3” (“MobiNa” uses the same software, for example), the new system’s focus on communication has considerably reduced costs and therefore brought it closer to market. Intuitive interaction with the robot now plays a special role: the display is tiltable and if necessary, MobiNa can be moved aside by using the two handles provided. In addition, “MobiNa” employs an LED light indicator to signal its status if, for example, it detects a problem. Also, if it needs to intervene in the night,
the LED indicator allows “MobiNa” to shine a light on the user to enable a human at the service call centre to better assess the situation.

“The handy size, yet firm design not only addresses practical considerations, it is also consistent with the wishes of the target audience,” says Ralf Simon King. Polls conducted prior to the start of work on “MobiNa” found that elderly and infirm persons are negatively disposed towards robots in human form, for which reason the researchers at Fraunhofer opted for a functional design. Also, if the assistant is too big in size, it is perceived as an alien body in the home.

The researchers at Fraunhofer are now in search of an industrial cooperation partner to develop “MobiNa” to production readiness. Extensive laboratory tests have already been conducted, the next step is to carry out a series of trials in realistic application scenarios in order to guarantee a user-focused product design consistent with realworld needs.

From May to September 2013, “MobiNa” will be on view in numerous German towns aboard the exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft as part of an exhibition on demographic change.

Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.ipa.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht A burst of ”synchronous” light
08.11.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>