As the number of individuals in need of care is growing rapidly and there will presumably be nearly 700,000 unfilled caregiver posts in Germany by 2050, researchers are moving to develop robots that can take over some of the functions presently performed by nurses and physicians.
Germany, while being among Europe’s most populous countries, has one of the fastest-aging populations in the world. Hence, there is an alarming shortage of medical professionals, which has called for the need for robots.
To deal with this problem, researchers at Munich’s Technical University built the robot Garmi. The purpose of Garmi is to act as a robotic companion for the elderly. It can help the elderly with chores like housekeeping and might assist doctors in the formative phase of a telemedicine-based visit and provide physical assistance to patients during rehabilitation activities.
Garmi’s look doesn’t differ much from what you would expect the usual robot to look like; it has wheels and a pedestal to roll around on, and its display is black with two blue circles for eyes.
Its lifelike form is distinguished by features like a multi-modal head packed with sensors designed to facilitate natural human-machine interaction and a safe torque-control interface that allows for full body control by humans.
The field of geriatronics, which employs cutting-edge technologies like robotics and 3D technology to address the needs of the elderly in medicine, is responsible for the creation of the humanoid.
Garmi-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, in conjunction with other medical equipment such as electrocardiographs (ECGs), sphygmomanometers (BP monitors), and ultrasound machines, provide doctors with access to vital patient data. That way, the doctor may respond rapidly to any critical problems that arise.
In addition, the robot might offer more customized assistance at home or at a treatment facility, such as helping with meal preparation, opening water bottles, calling for help in the event of a fall, or setting up a video call with loved ones.
“We have ATMs where we can get cash today. We can imagine that one day, based on the same model, people can come to get their medical examination in a kind of technology hub,” stated Abdeldjallil Naceri, the lead scientist and researcher.
As a consequence, doctors in other locations might assess the robot’s diagnostic findings, which could be especially helpful for those in remote regions.
For Guenter Steinebech, a 78-year-old retired German doctor, Garmi is something right out of a dream.
In the Garmisch laboratory, Steinebach got himself seated in front of three monitors and a controller in order to assess the robot’s improvements. A researcher assigned as a test subject sat at the opposite end of the room in front of Garmi, which held a stethoscope to his chest on Steinebach’s direction. Information on a patient’s health appears instantly on the screen of the doctor.
In addition to the Steinebach, the lab frequently receives visits from other members of the medical community who have valuable insights to share on the robot’s potential applications in healthcare. They all hold the unanimous view that this type of technology needs to be implemented in society as soon as possible.