Ballbot Plays Well With Granny, Researcher Runs With Scissors

The NYT is covering the angle that the ballbot will be able to care for the elderly.

Some experts say robots such as Ballbot might one day help provide care and companionship to the disabled and the nation's aging population.
The field is already booming in countries like Japan and Korea, where graying populations are expected to put overwhelming demands on younger health care workers
Robots could help fill the gap, for example, by calling for help for a patient who has fallen down and can't get up, Grupen said. A robot could also monitor the patient's vital signs until help arrives.
That's two reports in as many days (make that 3) showcasing new technology that enables robots to take care of the infirmed in the stead of our strained health care workers. I sense a trend. When the baby boomer population hits the nursing homes the robots will be there;

In other news about the ballbot, a few sites are crying foul about what real contribution this project has made. Theo at Phase Portrait says:
I just want to note that they bought their own pre-assembled IMU. That takes nearly all of the challenge out of this project.
In other words, they bought off the shelf parts, wrote a couple lines of code, tuned the systems with a few experiments, and wrote up a big press release. There is no system for the bot to actually interact with humans. It just stabilizes itself when you push it around (just like a good robot should). If that's the case, then I have another potential robot caregiver for the elderly.

Thanks to Phase Portrait via GoRobotics

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