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RAMCIP PROJECT, A ROBOTIC ASSISTANT TO SUPPORT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE PATIENTS AT HOME: A NOVEL APPROACH IN CAREGIVING

      Background

      There is increase interest in find solutions for the supervision and help in activities of daily living in Alzheimer's disease (AD), since caregiving consumes material and human resources; and robotic technologies have potential to support patients with cognitive impairment. Robotic Assistant for MCI Patients at home (RAMCIP) is a three-year research project within the HORIZON2020 programme funded by the European Commission, which started in January 2015 with the aim of develop a novel robot that can provide assistance to elderly people with AD in mild stages (mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia) at their homes, allowing them to maintain and independent living and quality of life.

      Methods

      Eight partners will collaborate in the RAMCIP project that will comprise the following innovative aspects: 1) cognitive skills based on advanced user and home environment modelling and monitoring, 2) novel adaptive multimodal human robot communication interfaces and 3) advanced, dexterous and safe robotic manipulation capabilities, for the first time applied in service robots for assisted living environments, introducing assistance activities that involve physical contact, all with special emphasis on safety.

      Results

      The RAMCIP robot will be capable of: 1) understand actions, complex activities and behavior of multiples persons in the user's home; 2) provide proactive, discreet and optimal assistance to the user; 3) allow communication between user and robot, 4) establish advanced physical interaction between robot and home environment and 5) establish assistance activities involving physical interaction between the robot and user. Finally, a clinical trial will be design to test and validate the efficacy of the RAMCIP robot.

      Conclusions

      The RAMCIP project vision is that future service robots can assist in significant aspects of the user’s daily life, ranging from food preparation, eating and dressing activities, through to managing the home and keeping it secure. Also, the robot should help the user maintain positive outlooks and exercise their cognitive and physical skills. Coverage of these aspects will preserve an independent living and quality of life in patients with AD in mild stages. Rigorous evaluation of these novel technologies by using controlled trials is warranted.