Researchers in Singapore have developed a unique robot to prevent elderly people from falling using sensor technology.
The Mobile Robotic Balance Assistant (MRBA), or “Mister Bah,” is a wearable assistive robot that can detect and prevent a fall before it happens.
Developed by researchers at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) with assistance from the National Robotics Programme, they said no participants have had a fall during their clinical trials.
Clinical trials were conducted involving 29 participants who lived with different conditions from traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and spinal cord injuries, and no falls were recorded in that time.
“The researchers found that MRBA was successful in aiding them with sitting, standing, and walking, as well as assisting in tasks like fetching water,” NTU Singapore said.
“[The robot’s] inbuilt sensors instantaneously detect a loss of balance and catches the user with its attached safety harness which is worn around the user’s hips.”
Researchers said the robot assists users “who have difficulty in walking and balancing to stand up safely from a seated position, and to sit down safely from a standing position.”
The robot is expected to be commercially released by 2023.
MRBA researchers have currently developed three models of the robot and are currently looking to expand the study to further understand how the robot can further assist in home and community settings.
Falls are the leading cause of hospitalised injuries and injury deaths among older Australians, making up 77% of all injury hospitalisations and 71% of injury deaths in this age group.
In Australia, falls are considered a major issue for the older generation and many aged care providers have falls interventions in place to protect older clients.
So what do you think? Do you believe a robot like this could assist in Australian aged care facilities or in the homes of older Australians? Tell us in the comments below.