There are plenty of robots designed to offer companionship to older citizens, but British robotics maker Consequential Robotics believes its Astrid MiRo robot is more effective because it’s based upon the way a human brain works.
Not only will it react to its owner’s needs, such as being by their side when they’re lonely, it will also help them around the home, finding objects, bringing them to its owner and using facial recognition to recognise its master and any visitors.
MiRo is an open source project, with Consequential Robotics inviting developers to help it create more tasks for the robot to help out with. The company is also inviting other robotics manufacturers to use its platform to power their own companion robots.
The platform comprises the ability to use all six senses, eight degrees of freedom, a brain-inspired operating system and a simulation software package, offering the full suite of functionalities, the company says.
Astrid and the MiRo platform it runs on was primarily designed for people with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, autism and other conditions where developing a trusted relationship is crucial.
MiRo robots were developed by the University of Sheffield, with a brain-based control system. They’re packed with three processors, which is the same as our brain. One of the processors looks at the sensors, then the others control the movement and the final looks after its understanding and facial recognition.
Consequential Robotics has now turned this into a familiar object – a dog – which is part of its plan to use pet therapy to help patients.
The company was founded UK consumer product designer, Sebastian Conran, Professor Tony Prescott, Director of the Sheffield Robotics research institute, and biomimetic roboticist Dr Ben Mitchinson, with its main focus developing assistive robotic systems that will enhance quality of life as people age.