Someone -- No, Some Thing -- to Watch Over You

(Bryan Thibodeau)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This uBOT5 robot, created by scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is programmed to act if you suddenly find that you're in trouble.

It can use a stethoscope to listen to your heart, and it can dial 911. If you've fallen, there's no need to press a button or shout; sensors near the robot's video-screen head can detect the problem and summon help.

The robot can also set up a video call with a doctor using a webcam, a microphone and touch-sensitive LCD screen.

As for more-mundane tasks, the robot can offer help around the house by picking up small packages and carrying groceries.

Digitrobotics, a Boston-based start-up, is manufacturing several robots in collaboration with UMass and MIT.

"It is our goal to use these technologies in an in-home-assistant robot," said Bryan Thibodeau, a principal of Digitrobotics and a graduate student at the perceptual robotics lab at UMass.

-- Ranit Mishori

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