A round home robot aids the elderly
Rollo, the home robot, has been developed by the Laboratories of Automation Technology, Information and Computer Systems in Automation and Control Engineering of the Helsinki University of Technology for seven years and is presently being adapted for home care and independent living at home. Rollo is part of the “Turning Well-Being Technology into a Success Story” – (iWELL) technology programme of the National Technology Agency Tekes.
“The reason why we arrived at a ball-shaped solution was that the round form has many advantages,” Researcher Panu Harmo explains. “A ball has always the right side up and it can roll from one place to another. The ball does not get caught anywhere, either.“ According to Mr Harmo, the ball-shaped form was found to be pleasant and is not considered frightening in the home environment.
The robot is slightly bigger than a basketball and helps to establish a video and audio contact with a person’s home. The electronic equipment and camera installed in the robot do not roll with it, because they have been hung up on an axis. When the security bracelet or some other security system sends an alarm signal, a trained home helper, for example, can check the residence and clarify the situation with the help of Rollo.
Rollo can also be used in the home as a “chief robot” that gives orders to other electronic devices in the household. “Rollo can give an order to the domestic waste robot to take the waste outside, or inform the dishwasher robot that clean plates are needed immediately,” Mr Harmo explains. As part of the information technology equipment installed in the household, Rollo stays in touch with other devices and with the outside world by radio.
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