venerdì 9 maggio 2014

94-yr-old in Rome lives w/robot care

EC programme tests new solution for independent living

(ANSA) - Rome, May 9 - A 94-year-old grandmother in Rome is one of six elderly people living with a robotic 'caretaker' as part of an European Commission (EC) project, the EC said Monday in a statement. The three million euro EC-financed project, called GiraffPlus, is part of an effort to test how robots and other devices could help older people live safer, more independent lives. "The EU is investing in new technology that can support the silver generation - adding not just years to our life, but also life to our years," said Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission and head of the Digital Agenda. The system includes sensors and a robot, which 94-year-old Lea Mina Ralli calls 'Mister Robin'.

The sensors are designed to detect activities like cooking, sleeping or watching television, as well as to allow the person's caretakers to check remotely on well-being and for falls. The robot monitors such health indicators as blood pressure or sugar levels, and allows video calls to relatives, friends and doctors.

Ralli, aka 'Nonna Lea' (Grandma Lea), is a technology buff and has even dedicated a poem to the robot on a blog she keeps. "With this valuable assistant that I call 'Mr Robin', I'm more relaxed about the years ahead, and so are my children and grandchildren," explained Ralli. GiraffPlus is expected to be in 14 European homes by the end of 2014, put into commercial production next year. Costs will be based on an upfront fee and monthly subscriptions to make it competitive with full-time care. 

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