Low-Cost Utility-Driven Guardian Robot for Older Persons Living Alone (UC Santa Cruz)

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This team’s faculty advisors received CITRIS seed funding this year to investigate the activity patterns of older persons living alone, and simultaneously, the capabilities of various sensors such as cameras, temperature sensor, and a two-way microphone for remote monitoring by family members. The goal of this CITRIS funding is for family members or their surrogates to remotely control a robot system over the Internet when they suspect a problem or are unable to reach their loved ones by phone. The goal of this Big Ideas proposal is to make this system autonomous, enabling the robot to monitor activity by detecting utility pattern anomalies. This will allow the system to identify and indicate potential problems and then alert the family members, while heading towards the location of the last utility activity. This project will use a commercially available vacuum robot, “Roomba,” as the base, allow for two-way communication using a mounted tablet, integrate a thermal camera for health data, and analyze the data for the surrogate to inspect and take the appropriate actions.

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