Entries with tag cordis.

Robotic Companion Designed to Help Seniors

A customizable robotic assistant is being designed by European researchers to help provide those older people still living independently with assistance. The robot, which is being designed under the umbrella of the MOBISERV project, is a semi-humanoid figure on wheels that can remind seniors of important tasks, such as taking medications or encouraging them to have a drink of water or visit friends. The wheeled companion is equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface and is part of a suite of smart-home technologies for seniors, which includes health-monitoring smart clothing  and emergency alert systems. The researchers say the robot will not replace professional home-care providers, but is designed to provide assistance for those family members who are caring for a senior parent. Europe’s senior population is expected to double by 2060. Just as important as monitoring a senior’s safety, say researchers, is supporting their cognitive health and social well-being through reminders to undertake activities such as calling a friend or going for a walk. Prototype testing was conducted in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. The project was led by Smart Homes, the Dutch Expertise Centre on Home Automation and Smart Living, and included scientists from various research institutes, universities, and technology companies in seven European countries. They say the robot now costs about EUR 10,000, but the price should drop to EUR 5,000 within a couple of years, which is when the technology may be commercially available. The researchers are seeking funding for improvements to the robot that could also enable them to undertake large-scale trials of the technology. (SlashDot)(CORDIS)

Robotic Scanner Checks Underground Pipes

European researchers have created a robotic imaging system for inspecting underground pipes. The team, headed by scientists from TWI Ltd., developed a robotic scanner that is able to conduct nondestructive testing for connections between glass-reinforced plastic pipes. Among the technologies with which the robot is equipped are phased array ultrasonic technology and low-energy digital radiography, both of which are imaging technologies used to inspect pipe connections or to detect structural defects. Oil and gas, as well as other hazardous chemicals, are commonly transported in Europe through a network of stainless steel pipes. These pipes could corrode, which could cause any number of disasters -- such as leaks or fire. Glass-reinforced plastic has been in limited use because, although less expensive and more corrosion resistant, there has been hesitancy to use the material, notes CORDIS. The researchers say that encouraging the use of these types of pipes requires technologies to inspect the integrity of pipe interconnections with confidence. (PhysOrg)(CORDIS)

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