Photo Credit: Rapp-project.eu
A robot helps an elderly man.

Ben Gurion University has received a grant from the Israeli government to develop robotics for the elderly.

The new project, dubbed “Follow Me: Proxemics and Responsiveness for Following Tasks in Adaptive Assistive Robotics,” will use “robotic adaptive person-following” algorithms for robots that can be programmed according to the pace and abilities of their users.

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“While most person-following algorithms focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the robot, what is unique about our approach is that we focus on the effectiveness of the human-robot interaction by introducing constructs related to proximity in human-human interaction,” Dr. Tal Oron-Gilad, a researcher in BGU’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, said in a statement.

“Robots can assist the elderly in everyday tasks as they seek to age independently. Nevertheless, the introduction of assistive robotics into seniors’ daily life will be dependent upon user acceptance, satisfaction and affordability,” Dr. Oron-Gilad added.

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