International contest reveals assisted living robots of the future

Europe’s most advanced assisted living robots were showcased in an international tournament at Heriot-Watt University, this week.

Academic teams from across the continent battled it out in the European Robotics League Service Robot Challenge (ERL), testing robots which aim to assist older people in a care setting.

The competition took place in the University’s custom built 60 square metre real life living laboratory, with researchers testing robots which could revolutionise the healthcare and social care sectors. 

For a number of months, researchers from Heriot-Watt have been building robots with the ability to help people with age-related impairments or disabilities in their daily lives.

Tasks such as welcoming visitors to the home, turning the oven off and fetching reading glasses have been very well received by the robotics world and healthcare sector.

And this week, EU-based universities came together to compete and evaluate the performance of the robots in a home setting, to further enhance the important research.

Dr Mauro Dragone, Assistant Professor Assistant Professor at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences said: “Robotic competitions such as the ERL offer a unique opportunity to break down real-work challenges into a competition similar to the UEFA Champions League.

“This is exciting for robotics scientists, the industry and the general public alike.

“This tournament is the ideal way to compare and evaluate the performance of different robotic systems of service robots.

"Robots are set to revolutionise our economy and society over the next 20 years as they start to work for us and beside us, assisting us and interacting with us."