Meet the Rudy assistive robot from INF Robotics that wants to help the elderly, war veterans and people with disabilities age in place and cut down on recurring hospital visits.
INF Robotics, a startup in Fairfax, Virginia, tells Washington Business Journal the Rudy assistive robot will be available in 2017 in the Greater Washington. Plans are in the works to roll out Rudy to other parts of the Mid-Atlantic.
The Rudy assistive robot is currently in stage two of its beta testing. It’s being piloted at assistive living facilities and has already been tested with the Department of Veteran Affairs.
It isn’t the sleekest robot, but the benefits the Rudy assistive robot will provide human companions is what really counts. Rudy reminds people to take medications, carries things, interacts socially, and play games with people via its screen.
The Rudy assistive robot offers telemedicine capabilities for doctors and caregivers to check in remotely. INF Robotics also partnered with AlertOne Services so the Rudy assistive robot can call for help during emergencies.
INF Robotics plans to sell the Rudy assistive robot for $5,000 per unit. However, the company is also seeking reimbursement through Medicare and Medicaid. It says this will make Rudy available at “little to no cost to the user.”
Why the Rudy Assistive Robot is Vital
The US is reaching an epidemic proportion of older adults who will need healthcare later in their lives. By 2030, that population will grow from 35 million to 72 million – close to a 20 percent increase in the US population.
Unfortunately, most older adults now die of a chronic or long-term illness in a skilled healthcare facility. Adults 85-plus are almost twelve times as likely to reside in one, while higher numbers of older adults are living in assisted living.
An impending nursing and geriatrician shortage is also predicted. In 2014, there was only 7,000 certified U.S. geriatricians; that’s one for every 2,600 patients age 75-plus, and studies estimate that by 2030 30,000 geriatricians will be needed.
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Because of these shortages, high mortality rates and re-admission likely will occur unless we get help. So if there was ever a time for assistive robots to step in, now would be the time.
Many believe assistive robots serve three basic needs for those in need: surveillance, privacy and companionship. But how users accept and adapt to assistive robots in the US remains a question. While studies have been limited, they show the attitude of older adults is generally positive towards assistive robots. This, however, may depend on their environment and health status.