In recent years the exposure of failing state aided services for the elderly has gathered pace in the UK. The video below taken from BBC’s Panorama is the latest and probably the most disturbing, gratuitous & shocking example we have seen to date.
It’s worrying to note however that this abuse was only exposed due to a hidden camera placed in Maria’s care home room by her concerned daughter.
The central question here then could be – why can’t we have wi-fi camera’s monitoring any vulnerable person in any care setting. The cost is minimal and yet the comfort of being able to look in on your elderly Mum or Dad whenever possible would be invaluable. Notwithstanding the benefits for the care facility itself and associated health services. There are of course privacy issues here but hardly insurmountable with recent developments in surveillance software & multi-agency protocols.
Maria was left in her room alone for 13 hours, every day without even a television switched on for company? Imagine the considerable benefits of a small remotely accessible personal companion robot which could not only project Skype style communication but also family video’s, photo’s, TV or even Maria’s favourite music. If this telepresence equipped social robot is also tactile and huggable, the haptic comforts of having a ‘daemon’ like presence are very clear. The combination of all these technologies into a working socially equipped companion robot is available now! As the brilliant LuminAR project shows below new technology can be inexpensive and easily adapted for this type of social robot!
It has become all too painfully clear that we cannot leave the care of our vulnerable family members & friends exclusively to the ill equipped & inadequately regulated hands of state aided and commercial care?