Geriatronics refers to the use of robotics, mechatronics and information technology, in particular machine intelligence and 3D technology, in geriatrics, gerontology and in the medical care of elderly people for optimal support and for the maintenance and improvement of self-determination in old age.
Geriatronics has three central goals
Everyday tasks can quickly become a hurdle in old age. Robotics and machine intelligence are expected to be of assistance in age-related problems such as reduced physical or mental fitness and impairment due to illness and lack of social interaction. Geriatronics robotic systems aim to improve communication between family members and acquaintances who live far from each other, as well as to relax caregivers’ hours, allowing them to have long personal conversations with those they care for.
Often, and contrary to the person’s own wishes, it is then no longer possible to live independently at home. Consequently, many seniors decide to live in nursing homes because of their health impairments. However, due to the shortage of skilled personnel, they cannot receive the support they need to live a self-determined life. Geriatronics assistance systems are an opportunity to live a self-determined life through medical telepresence and personalized diagnostics.
Geriatronics technologies support and relieve caregivers in non-care tasks and non-ergonomic physically demanding activities, activities which in the long term have a detrimental effect on their health and thus increasing sick days. Geriatronics technologies are not meant to be a substitute for nursing staff, but a relief in day-to-day care by supporting time-consuming or strenuous activities.
Geriatronics is intended to support the elderly in coping with everyday life alone in their own home, in bedridden situations, during doctor’s visits, in times of rehabilitation and for everyday hygiene.
Humanoid as a helper
Heinz has arranged to meet friends at the town festival. So that he doesn’t forget it, the date is noted and also GARMI has saved it in its data. Heinz has already prepared himself, but sits down again in his TV chair to watch the news. “The next news will follow at 8 pm.” It’s time to leave, Heinz prefers to leave sooner because of his heavy legs. He waves at GARMI. “I have to go!” “To the town festival?” asks GARMI. Heinz nods. “Should I help you into the shoes?” Heinz nods again. GARMI brings shoes from the doormat and helps the sitting Heinz in. Heinz tries to get up, but doesn’t make it. He makes a helpless gesture. GARMI offers the arm to help Heinz get up.
Telemedicine Scenario: “Emergency”
Shortly after his daily nap Heinz suddenly feels unwell. He calls out for GARMI: “I don’t feel well. Please call a doctor!” GARMI comes immediately and establishes a connection with the emergency medical service. The doctor is immediately informed of Heinz’s emergency call on the display of the user avatar remote station. The doctor can immediately respond to the emergency and can be connected to GARMI. After a brief analytical dialogue, family doctor has an ultrasound and ECG examination performed by GARMI – the ultrasound images and the ECG are transmitted to the doctor in real time. From the analysis of the transmitted data, which was supported by machine learning algorithms, the doctor is able to quickly identify an emergency. This is also the case in this situation. The doctor immediately notifies the emergency service, which takes Heinz to the nearest hospital with an ambulance as quickly as possible, and also immediately transmits the findings to the responsible authority.
Telemedicine “Regular Checkup”
It is early in the morning and GARMI awakens Heinz. GARMI says: “Good morning Heinz, your weekly checkup is in an hour, should I call Dr. Kunze?” Heinz answers: “Good morning GARMI, thanks for the reminder. In thirty minutes then.” Heinz gets ready and GARMI establishes the connection. With the help of the user avatar remote station and human model based monitoring, the doctor performs the routine examination. The doctor says: “Mr. Müller, your ECG values look good today, only your blood pressure is still a little too high. Please take these antihypertensive drugs for two weeks, one tablet three times a day. I tell GARMI to remind you to take it.”
It is late in the evening and Heinz wants to go to bed. Heinz says: “GARMI, could you help me into bed?” GARMI answers: “Of course. Do we want to brush our teeth together? Heinz: “Oh yes, I forgot that again.” GARMI and Heinz go to the bathroom together. Heinz fills a glass with water while GARMI prepares the toothbrush. Because Heinz has problems holding the toothbrush alone due to the increasing strength of gout, GARMI brushes Heinz’ teeth carefully.