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European partnership funds research toward robot aides for the elderly
Date:9/13/2010

A partnership among 20 European states, the European Union and a number of private enterprises has launched a three-year, 3.87-million-euro project to make robots capable of serving as adaptable, interactive, and above all safe assistants for elderly people. The research project, known as ALIAS, places special emphasis on maintaining social networks, warding off feelings of loneliness and isolation, and increasing activities that may protect and enhance cognitive capabilities. ALIAS is a project associated with the Cluster of Excellence CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) and will widen the competencies of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) in the area of social robotics.

This commitment reflects a conviction that "social robotics" can help face the strong demographic changes in Europe, where more and more elderly people live alone in their homes or in nursing or elderly care homes, with different levels of autonomy.

Many elderly people wish to live at home the longest time possible. They also want to maintain social contacts with their family, friends, and neighbors, with former colleagues and others associated with their careers, and with well known faces from the local market or local services -- while at the same time being safe. In the western states of Germany alone, 19% of the population was over 65 years of age in 2005, with a forecast reaching 29% - 22.1 millions inhabitants by 2030. Many new elderly-friendly devices and technologies are currently being developed, with a stronger inclusion of elderly users under the European Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme. The objective of the AAL Joint Programme, which supports the ALIAS project, is to enhance the quality of life of older people and at the same time strengthen the industrial base in Europe through the use of information and communication technologies.

The function of the European project ALIAS -- Adaptable Ambient Living ASsistant -- led by the Tec
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Contact: Klaus Becker
becker@zv.tum.de
49-892-892-2798
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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