ROSE is a care robot intended to perform simple service tasks in support of clients and care staff at healthcare institutions. The challenge is to provide the right assistance at the right time and determine which tasks have potential and are desirable to have executed by a robot.
In the period February – July 2018, Heemskerk Innovative Technology (HIT) performed a series of application tests with a new version of robot ROSE Robot at the Dutch care home Pieter van Foreest, location De Bieslandhof in Delft. In close cooperation with the care staff at Pieter van Foreest, and with support from the Medical Delta Living Lab Care Robots, the test provided new insights in the actual care support demand from clients, the robot performance, and the acceptance by care recipients and health personnel.
During the test campaign, Robot ROSE performed various tasks, such as fetching objects from the kitchen and setting the breakfast table. At the request of the clients, ROSE demonstrated picking up objects from the ground, such as medicine cups or the TV remote control. All these manual tasks were performed using a robotic arm. ROSE also demonstrated autonomous navigation, moving around the corridor and living room, while automatically avoiding obstacles, which is a key capability for the robot to have in order to be useful within health care institutions. Finally, ROSE enabled clients to contact relatives at a distance via image and audio.
Clients and care staff participated together in the research. This enable them to experience in practice what the robot can contribute and allowed the participants to discuss the robot’s merits and potential for the future.
HIT develops robot ROSE and facilitated the technical execution of tasks with the robot. The robot operations were performed through tele-operation, with the robot and robot arm under remote control of an experienced operator. Doing so allowed for a good number of tasks to be executed which currently cannot yet be performed autonomously. This enabled tasks to be performed together with, and experienced by, the client and care staff.
The role of the remote operator will slowly decrease as the robot will become more autonomous. Though ROSE will only perform relatively simple actions, this will free up time for health care staff, leaving them with more time to spend with the client. Ultimately, ROSE will work independently, providing logistics support to the health care staff whilst also standing ready for the client when he or she asks for help.
HIT, Pieter van Foreest, and the Medical Delta Living Labs intend to continue testing with ROSE in the future. In the meantime, however, ROSE still needs to be developed further. One important aspect is to improve the quality of the communication between robot and client. During the development process, the continued active participation and involvement of clients and the health staff is paramount.
A summary of the tests performed is available on YouTube. (See below)