This project aimed to realise visionary yet practical improvements to residential care services for aged care residents through the emerging technology of Assistive Robotics (AR). Assistive robots are intelligent machines able to work collaboratively with a range of human users; as assistants, as tools and as companions. The UTS robotics team has developed a range of prototype machines to enhance aged care services. They include a hoist, a walking frame, a wheelchair and a telepresence device, each cost-effectively incorporating AR technology. All of these machines afford function, safety, comfort and an ease of use superior to current products.
The study evaluated the suitability and acceptance of these devices through an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) and focus groups comprising of residents, families of residents, nurses, care assistants and management, drawn from the Woonona IRT residential care facility. The prototype of the Smart Hoist was selected for further evaluation as it was the most likely to offer early benefit to IRT. It was further refined to incorporate user features established through the EAG, specifically covering its design for accessibility, user-friendliness, adaptability and appearance. This device was evaluated extensively at IRT's Woonona facility to capture the needs of aged care residents, their families, nurses and care assistants in a timely maturation of AR prototype technology, and to enable evidence-based appreciation of the benefits of the Smart Hoist.
- Ranasinghe R., Dantanarayana L., Tran A., Lie S., Behrens M. and Liu L. Smart Hoist: An Assistive Robot to Aid Carers. In 13th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV), 2014.
- Dantanarayana L., Ranasinghe R., Tran A., Liu D. and Dissanayake G. A Novel Collaboratively Designed Robot to Assist Carers. In International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR), 2014.
- IRT Foundation
For further information about the Smart Hoist, please see the attached flyer: SmartHoist - intelligent patient transfer hoist.pdf