In North Austin, researchers at IBM are working on ways to apply robotics, artificial intelligence, and existing technology to helping seniors age in place.
Nationally, the population is getting older. By 2040, one-fifth of Americans will be older than 65. The IBM lab is aimed at integrating existing technology, like sensors, cameras, and facial recognition software, with technology they’re developing with Rice University. They’re working on the Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant, or MERA, hoping it can help where stationary monitoring can’t, like in the case of a fall.
“Maybe the robot can take my picture and send it to Flickr or send a text,” said John Sanchez, an architect at IBM Research. “You can also do more investigation. You might have a stationary camera do the same thing, but in this demo, he’s a little more sophisticated and he can move around a little bit.”