‘Stevie II’ – Ireland’s First Socially Assistive AI Robot Unveiled


Reading time ( words)

Robotics engineers from Trinity College Dublin today [Wednesday May 15] unveiled ‘Stevie II’ – Ireland’s first socially assistive robot with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) features – at a special demonstration at Science Gallery Dublin. 

Stevie won thousands of admirers and served as a proof of concept that a socially assistive robot could be deployed in long-term care environments to help seniors and people living with disability. Stevie II, meanwhile, builds on those successes but embodies significant technological upgrades and advanced AI capabilities. 

Stevie II is considerably more mobile and dextrous, and uses advanced sensing technologies including laser rangefinders, depth cameras, as well as tactile, inertial and vision sensors to interact intelligently with its environment. Meanwhile wireless connectivity (wifi, bluetooth, etc.) and a series of on-board computers diversify its potential uses. In addition to performing new functional tasks, the robot has been given enhanced expressive capabilities.

Assistant Professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering and principal investigator on the project, Dr Conor McGinn, said:

We found from interviews and focus groups that seniors enjoyed interacting with Stevie. It being so expressive helped to humanise the technology in a way that surpassed our expectations. These insights lead us to believe that a robot like Stevie can have a wide range of high-impact uses, which may involve performing numerous assistive tasks, helping caregivers, and may even provide new interfaces to existing technologies – like video calling, smart sensors, social media – that can be inaccessible to many older adults.

The Trinity team consulted with a wide range of experts during the robot’s development, including nurses and caregivers, as well as older adults living at home or in long-term care facilities. Among those partners is ALONE, a national organisation that supports older people to age at home. ALONE currently provides and uses technology to support older people to remain independent and socially connected.

CEO of Alone, Seán Moynihan, said:

ALONE has been delighted to partner with Trinity and to see how Stevie has developed since we first met in 2017. Often there is an assumption that older people and technology don’t mix, but the response to Stevie from the older people we work with shows that this is simply not the case. We hope that innovative solutions like those provided by Stevie and also by ourselves in ALONE through our BConnect technology will be utilised to ensure older people across the country can access the best supports available.

The Trinity team has recently partnered with the Army Distaff Foundation, a US-based non-profit organisation that operates Knollwood Retirement Community, and have already begun testing the technology with residents and staff at the facility.

Commenting on the findings of a recent pilot, which took place in February/March this year, Associate Executive Director, Matt Reilly, said:

The research conducted over the past year with our partners from Trinity College Dublin is very promising, and has significant potential for allowing us to incorporate this technology into our care delivery systems across the continuum of aging. Whether deployed in Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing, social assistance robotics platforms such as Stevie, driven by sophisticated AI, become tools that can help our care staff increase their performance and improve care outcomes. We are truly excited to be on the forefront of employing this technology.

Over the coming months, the team are planning several more pilots of the technology, including an extended deployment at Knollwood and a trial in the UK, where Stevie will be tested in long-term care facilities in the Cornwall region as part of the European-funded EPIC project.

Thanks to continued support from Enterprise Ireland, the team are aiming for the first permanent deployment of the technology to occur sometime in 2020.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

CES 2020: The Intelligence of Things

01/06/2020 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Show week for CES 2020 starts well ahead of the actual exhibition dates because it is huge. The organizers of CES state that there are more than 4,400 exhibiting companies and nearly three million net square feet of exhibit space. On the floor, you can find 307 of the 2018 Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the week, I-Connect007 Editors Dan Feinberg and Nolan Johnson will bring you some of the most interesting news, products, and announcements from 5G to IoT, semiconductor developments, autonomous vehicle technology, interconnect, fabrication materials, and much more.

NASA Sounding Rocket Technology Could Enable Simultaneous, Multi-Point Measurements — First-Ever Capability

10/21/2019 | NASA
NASA engineers plan to test a new avionics technology — distributed payload communications — that would give scientists a never-before-offered capability in sounding rocket-based research.

For Climbing Robots, the Sky's the Limit

07/15/2019 | NASA
Robots can drive on the plains and craters of Mars, but what if we could explore cliffs, polar caps and other hard-to-reach places on the Red Planet and beyond? Designed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a four-limbed robot named LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) can scale rock walls, gripping with hundreds of tiny fishhooks in each of its 16 fingers and using artificial intelligence (AI) to find its way around obstacles.



Copyright © 2020 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.