Luvozo, a startup founded in College Park, Maryland, in 2013, brings autonomous robots to semi-structured environments and creates endless possibilities: creating experienced care equipment for the elderly. They are inventing a robotic gatekeeper called SAM, which can provide residents with frequent ward rounds and non-drug care over time through automated navigation, remote monitoring and a fall risk detection system.
The main function of SAM is reflected in the automatic monitoring platform. A single Robot can cover an entire floor of an elderly gathering community, that is, 25 residents and two or three assistants. In many nursing homes, staff spend a significant amount of time tending to residents, perhaps once an hour or so (more frequently if they are high-risk residents). SAM takes over the task of room-to-room inspection using the auto-navigation function. When they arrive in the room, employees can confirm that all is well via remote video conferencing mode. If something goes wrong, remote workers can connect with local employees to handle it in person.
There are many benefits to using remote monitoring robots in this situation, and they don’t replace human jobs: they just give occupants the care and attention they need. The robot moves freely in various rooms, which means that remote employees can communicate with residents through the movement of the robot. Local employees now do not need to make frequent house rounds, which frees them from the hustle and bustle. Despite the intermediary of robots, the interaction between the residents themselves and the outside world has increased. All in all, local employees are less involved in ward rounds, and they can communicate more face-to-face with residents without reducing their own freedom of movement.
Some may question whether a resident accepts remote rounds as opposed to manual rounds, but be aware that remote employees have access to specific information about each resident they talk to, so each communication is “customized.” David Pietrocola told us that in the experiment, the residents were quite satisfied with the situation: “In almost all cases, no one showed resistance. From the occupant’s point of view, it was a more personalized experience. In the experiment , we put the SAM in the hallway, and at the end of the experiment, when people passed the hallway and saw the SAM, they would say hello to it: “Hi! SAM!” Even if it wouldn’t respond. It turned the system into a Part of the community becomes part of the fact that robots are used as contradictory to tablets and other things that add a different vibrancy to life. We don’t need SAM to replicate the human ward round function because it’s more like giving residents more A channel of care.
Luvozo believes that SAM (including the various services that come with SAM) costs only one-third of the cost of hiring a certified nursing assistant. This saves a lot of money, but it’s just as important to figure out what’s going to happen in the future. The population is ageing, and many occupations are now facing a shortage of skilled workers: within the next 15 years, the total workforce providing care will triple. SAM is a force multiplier, allowing the same number of workers to provide consumers with a better care experience.Plus, SAM allows those already in this careindustryPeople in are able to work at their own pace or work longer hours from their own home. At the same time, SAM also gives them the freedom to change their workplace at will: Remote workers can live wherever they want, as long as they have a good internet connection and the ability to serve residents around the world.
With such a clear value proposition, we asked Michael Austin, chief strategy officer of Pietrocola and Luvozo, why there aren’t many companies in this space yet. “Navigation technology has come a long way over the past few years,” explains Pietrocola. “The truth is, ROS has matured rapidly, and that’s why technology like this can be configured well. No one can combine the right product with the right business model.” Austin added: “There are already people in the industry who want to build it. It can become a home robot, but each family is very different. Therefore, our system perspective must be based on a specific environment for better compatibility.
Reduce the difficulty of navigation. “
With the manufacture of many robots capable of autonomously navigating a crowd, the SAM itself has the function of maintaining safety. A robot weighs about 41 kilograms (90 pounds) and has a fixed suspension to support the low center of gravity, making it solid. Plus, there’s a four-zone bumper system (theoretically never used before) that backs up IR sensors around the chassis. The main navigation sensor is a new ten-meter SICK lidar (with one-third of a degree angle resolution) that Luvozo is testing in a robotic system, which also has one for other navigation data and SAM The RGB-D sensor of the Wrestling Evaluation System. The final piece of SAM is where humans and robots interact: 19-inch screen, webcam, microphone array, and a couple of microphones powered by amplifiers (when you need to spend all day and those who don’t have particularly good hearing) This thing is very important when communicating with people).
In addition to the auto-navigation function, SAM has an important feature that differentiates it from purely remote-controlled robots, which is Luvozo’s AFAS, or its automatic wrestling assessment system. Using RGB-D sensors (now called Kinect 2), SAM can continuously sweep buildings, trying to detect if someone has fallen: a cluttered and cluttered space makes it easy to trip. This is a more serious problem than it sounds, because the hazards of wrestling are sometimes very serious, and many of them are avoidable. AFAS can measure, alert employees and provide specific recommendations on problem resolution. In fact, this feature is why many nursing homes are interested in using SAM.
Last fall, Luvozo took a SAM test in senior communities in Washington. “After the test,” Pietrocola told us, “they came back and said, ‘We want to use 24/7.’” That was the best outcome of the trial I could imagine. Luvozo is now working to close the investment round and hope to end the product development period so they can get SAM into the hands of initially paying customers by the end of the year.
In the future, SAM will have more functional expansions in managing care settings. Luvozo is considering giving SAM more autonomy, such as conversational artificial intelligence, but they are also exploring the possibility of creating a home portable device that could be used as a more traditional two-way video call for occupants and family members in real-time Remote control equipment. Nonetheless, in the short term Luvozo will focus on addressing the needs of their direct customers, namely: retirement community management, staffing, and residents they care about.
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