The XPAtient Barcelona Congress has today showcased in Barcelona the breakthroughs in healthcare robotics and underlined the significant role it will play in the coming years in social and healthcare centres and home care alike with the backing of robotic platforms which will ease the transition from hospitals to homes.

The seventh edition of this annual meeting on the changing model of care opened with a seminar which explored the potential of assistive robotics and technological platforms to deliver physical and cognitive help, rehabilitation and remote care to patients and elderly people with disabilities and special needs.

Daniel Serrano, director of the Robotics and Automation Unit at the Eurecat technology centre, pointed to user acceptance as “a key aspect for the introduction of new robotic technologies” and said that in patient care and attention, “interaction between the person and the robot has to be natural in order to make a positive impact and enhance the emotional and cognitive outcome.”

Serrano, who presented the Never Home Alone project designed to develop a robotics solution to support and assist elderly people living alone, argued that “a social robot is the best user interface because it presents the telecare application as an entity with the ability to move, express itself and interact, and this enhances the user experience.”

Meanwhile, Dr Carme Torras, research professor and head of the research group on assistive and collaborative robotics at the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics of the CSIC and the UPC, explained that they are working on miniaturising their prototype of a feeding robot to turn it into a small portable sensorised arm with a very simple interface so that patients with arm mobility problems can eat on their own. “I hope that in the next few years we will have robots capable of handling bedding, dressing and being in contact with patients in a friendly and inherently safe way,” she said.