We love our grandparents but they sometimes have a habit of annoying us by sending us back and forth to fetch cups of tea, blankets and even their teeth. Is all this enough to make you want to leave them with a robot?
If the answer is yes, you’re probably insane. But if you find an electronic friend you can trust your luck could be in. Scientists over in Germany have been working on a robot specifically to cater for Germany’s ageing population.
Going by the name of Casero, the robot isn’t the stuff of sci-fi. It has no arms or legs, is faceless and cannot speak. However, in around two years, its scientist parents at Duisburg University predict that the device – as big as a shopping trolley – could become a regular alongside care workers in care homes.
Casero has several cameras and sensors, which help it move around without bashing into anything or knocking over zimmer frames. It can carry loads of up to 100 kilograms. Casero can even take a lift, summoning it via a wireless internet connection and riding by itself to a different floor.
However, the little man doesn’t come cheap, and is as expensive as a full-time worker.
It looks like the scientists have been busy creating a sister for Casero too. The Care-O-Bot 3 is still in robot infancy, but is already much more polite than her brother. For starters she speaks and introduces itself upon entering a room. When she hands a drink on a tray, she amiably asks them to empty the glass before pouring the brandy.
The Grandroid has a colour camera that surveys her surroundings in a way similar to human eyes and an infrared 3D scanner. She can even recognise faces. When a person’s photograph is fed into its electronic memory, Care-O-Bot 3 can distinguish it from a multitude of others.