Switzerland’s case study presented at a Service Robot Seminar

Prof. Dr. Sabina Misoch

Prof. Dr. Sabina Misoch, Head of the Interdisciplinary Competence Center for Ageing (IKOA) at the University of Applied Sciences St. Gallen, was an invited speaker at the International Standardization Seminar for Service Robots in Tokyo.

She gave a presentation on Active Assisted Living (AAL) and robotic innovations for elderly people in Switzerland. She explained that it is still hard for elderlies to accept the assistance of “robots” in everyday life, as such devices are still rarely used and thus more of an unknown. According to a study conducted by Dr. Misoch and her team, most elderly still view robots with skepticism and fear.

On the other hand, the use in Switzerland of so called AAL-technologies to support elderly people in their everyday life is increasing, such as fall sensors robot vacuum or telemedicine solutions.

Dr. Misoch also presented the “Living Labs” where innovations are tested in real life settings (such as their own home or apartment) in order to find the most appropriate technologies which can be fully accepted by their users. Unlike tests in “classical” laboratories, conducted in artificial settings for a short time, elderly people participate fully in the research process of the living labs designed for the development of new technologies suitable to elderly’s needs.

Mr. Hideo Kawakami, General Manager of the Robot & Rehab Business Development Dept., Eco Solutions Company of Panasonic Corp. was the other speaker at the event organized by the Japanese Standards Association, IEC Activities Promotion Committee of Japan and the International Standardization Forum.

Mr. Kawakami explained the development process of a transfer assist robot “Resyone”, an integrated care bed/ wheelchair which lessen the physical (and moral) burden of helpers in elderly home or hospitals, and give elderly people more “freedom” to move out of their bed by themselves.

Lively discussions were also exchanged around the issue of cost burden and health insurance, as it is still difficult to determine who should be responsible for the cost arising from the use of AAL-technologies/robots in healthcare.

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