Georgia Tech’s Plans for their PR2 Robot

There has been a lot of buzz over the past week or so highlighting Willow Garage’s PR2 Graduation, where 11 robots will be given away to to 10 universities worldwide, with the 11th going to Bosch. I’ll be highlighting them in more detail in the coming weeks and months as things develop at various locations.

One of the recipients — Georgia Tech in Atlanta — has an interdisciplinary team in place to research how robots can help older adults live independently at home. As populations of the U.S., Europe, and Japan are all getting older resulting in fewer young people to provide care to seniors, experts are concerned that costs will skyrocket and aging adults will not receive the support they need. Robots may be able to help older adults stay in their homes longer with a higher quality of life, which is Georgia Tech’s goal through their work with the PR2 they received from Willow Garage this past week.

The team plans to work with older adults to better understand their needs and how robots can help in the short and long term. By working closely with seniors throughout the research process, the team hopes to better meet real needs and accelerate progress.

To make everything more realistic, the robot will spend some of its time in a real, two-story house on the Georgia Tech campus, called the Aware Home. This will enable older adults to work with the robot in a convincing environment, and will give the software developers a good place to test their code.

The School of Psychology’s Human Factors and Aging Laboratory will be leading the human-robot interaction research part of the project. Their experience researching technology for older adults, including a recent survey on how older adults would like to use robots, will prove to be extremely useful as the project moves forward.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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