Soft Robot as an Elderly Fall Prevention Instrument

Introduction

Fall prevention is one of the major health concerns regarding the provision of geriatric care. Falls remain the major factor leading to injury in the elderly that can have diverse negative effects on patients’ wellbeing. Soft robotics is one of the solutions to address the problem and improve older patients’ quality of life. The proposed technology, under the working title NoFallsRob, will enable older patients to remain in their communities instead of being forced to go to nursing homes. This paper includes relevant details regarding falls among the elderly, the use of soft robotics in health care, the description of a new soft robot aimed at helping older patients. Several recommendations to implement the project successfully are also included.

Recommendations

  1. Since materials used to create soft robots are rather expensive and can be difficult to obtain, it is necessary to consider collaboration with diverse manufacturers (Majidi, 2014). These can be local producers and start-ups, as well as international companies.
  2. As far as materials are concerned, the developers of NoFallsRob should utilize the most advanced technologies that have been already used in health care (Xie, Zhang, & Meng, 2017).
  3. The commercial success of a new product is vital since it defines the future of the item (Banerjee, Tse, & Ren, 2018). Therefore, alongside the development plan, it is essential to create the soft robot commercialization. One of the key features of the campaign will be the use of social media and face-to-face contact with potential customers. Collaboration with nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and other institutions will be required.
  4. Patient safety and ethical concerns remain quite relevant aspects to address (Dahl & Boulos, 2014). It is important to pay specific attention to the use of safe materials and ensure no injury is caused by the robot. Data privacy and confidentiality are serious problems, but they can be mitigated if the corresponding software is introduced.
  5. Researchers and practitioners have achieved considerable progress in fall prevention (Tsuda, 2017). Hence, the proposed soft robot, or rather the associated software, should include the data linked to the existing prevention strategies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the proposed soft robot will be instrumental in creating a sound strategy to minimize the rate of injuries resulting from falls among the elderly. NoFallsRob is developed following the latest standards and innovations in the field of soft robotics. The robot will assist older patients in adapting to their current physical state. The employed materials will be safe and contribute to the prevention of any injury.

The robot will be equipped with software that will include data regarding the most recent fall prevention methods, including traditional and conventional medicine. Emotional support will be ensured by the use of certain communication channels (social media, telehealth, among others) as the robot can have certain devices to facilitate social links of the elderly.

When developing and marketing the new product, it is necessary to address such aspects as materials, patient safety, data confidentiality and security, commercialization, and others. The proposed technology can become the first step in the development of an effective fall prevention strategy that will be utilized in diverse settings. Soft robots can be the solution to such problems as injury, isolation, and the loss of autonomy. Older patients’ well-being will be improved significantly, which is one of the primary goals of the American healthcare system.

References

Banerjee, H., Tse, Z. T. H., & Ren, H. (2018). Soft robotics with compliance and adaptation for biomedical applications and forthcoming challenges. International Journal of Robotics and Automation, 33(1), 69-80. Web.

Dahl, T. S., & Boulos, M. N. K. (2014). Robots in health and social care: A complementary technology to home care and telehealth? Robotics, 3(1), 1-21. Web.

Majidi, C. (2014). Soft robotics: A perspective—current trends and prospects for the future. Soft Robotics, 1(1), 5-11. Web.

Tsuda, T. (2017). Epidemiology of fragility fractures and fall prevention in the elderly. Current Orthopaedic Practice, 28(6), 580-585. Web.

Xie, S., Zhang, M., & Meng, W. (2017). Soft robots for healthcare applications. London, England: The Institution of Engineering and Technology.