National Robotarium partners with charity Leuchie House to trial advanced assisted living tech

A project run by two Edinburgh universities has teamed up with a national charity to trial technology that could help people with disabilities gain greater independence at home.

The National Robotarium, delivered by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, is partnering with Leuchie House to trial the assisted living technologies.

An estimated one million people in Scotland live with some form of neurological condition, and 10 per cent are disabled as a result.

For many, both professional and unpaid carers provide essential support at home to carry out daily tasks and enable access to leisure activities that support wellbeing. However, emerging technologies have been shown to help return independence.

The partnership will see researchers from the National Robotarium’s Assisted Living Lab, above, work in collaboration with guests at Leuchie House to develop advanced technologies that address specific needs.

The partnership will see researchers from the National Robotarium’s Assisted Living Lab work in collaboration with guests at Leuchie House to develop advanced technologies that address specific needs.

Robotics and artificial intelligence-based (AI) technologies will be developed at the National Robotarium to help people with a wide range of assistive needs, such as providing support after a stroke or monitoring for deterioration in conditions such as dementia.

By combining sensor technology and robotics, data can be collected over longer periods of time, helping to monitor patients and alert carers to when a care package may need to be reviewed.

Professor Lynne Baillie, head of the Assisted Living Lab, said: “Our partnership with Leuchie House will allow us to work collaboratively with their guests and carers to develop assisted living technology that truly works for users. We will engage directly with individuals to learn more about their unique needs and hear their ideas about how robotic and sensing technologies could provide support.

“Guests will then be invited to our Assisted Living Lab at the National Robotarium to participate in trials of technologies designed to meet these needs in a realistic home setting.”

The National Robotarium is part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative and is supported by £21 million from the UK government and £1.4m from the Scottish Government through the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal - a 15-year investment programme jointly funded by both governments and regional partners.

Leuchie House is a national charity dedicated to supporting people living with the long-term effects of a range of neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s, MND and stroke, through individualised short respite breaks.

Chief executive Mark Bevan said: “Leuchie House is traditionally known for our class leading residential short breaks and, building from this strength, we have been introducing guests and those who care for them to the benefits of enabling technology, which can restore independence and self-management.

“Our technology team works with guests to install similar technologies at home, giving them and those who care for them more independence and complementing residential short breaks.

“This exciting partnership between the National Respite Centre and the National Robotarium is a further example of how we can build on the past and re-imagine respite for the future. It is a key part of our creation of a new National Centre for Enabling Technology,” he added.

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