Healthcare’s forward-thinking acceptance of robotics could find patients taking advantage of a variety of different helpers to manage illness and provide care.
Preparing for eldercare during the digital transformation has companies treating robotics as less of a novelty and more of a serious answer to healthcare challenges. Robotics company Labrador Systems will roll out a series of “helping hands” robots called “The Retriever” as early as 2023, focusing on assistance for elderly and disabled users.
Healthcare’s forward-thinking acceptance of robotics in research could find patients taking advantage of a variety of different helpers to manage illness and provide care. Labrador has already provided prototypes of their helper robots to select users, and the first testimonial videos were released during the 2021 CES conference.
The Retriever resembles a bar cart and is designed to offer assistance to those living independently but in need of a helping hand. It carries up to 25 pounds, provides a retractable tray to help move objects, and will feature shelving systems and a bespoke refrigerator. Advanced 3D vision and obstacle sensors prevent accidents,
In addition, storage underneath offers space for things like medications and charging ports for electronics. It will be voice-controlled through Alexa, app-controlled, or will use a pre-set schedule, and the company plans to make the final version commercially available sometime in 2023.
The model offers users a way to manage day-to-day tasks that pain, weakness, and disability can make difficult. It carries payloads such as laundry or meals and retrieves items that might otherwise be out of reach. When users receive the robot, Labrador assists with setup by training it on a set of routes and “bus stops” within a single level of the user’s home. These bus stops are common stopping points the user needs. Over time, users can add or change bus stops themselves.
This is a much more straightforward solution than the human-like Rosies of cartoons in the past, but it belies a truth about healthcare robotics. Simple solutions have the ability to improve the quality of life for those living with a condition that makes independent living more strenuous. It’s a serious home device, and a testament to the way companies are re-envisioning robotics for everyday use.