A robotic ally to stand up to loneliness



A robotic companion who goes beyond simple attention and aspires to become a companion who stands up to loneliness. That is the ARI proposal (Intelligent Robotic Assistant), a project that arose from a challenge related to 5G launched by the Mobile World Capital Foundation and what has been developed by the Catalan company Grupo Saltó, combining its own management platform (Som Care) with a robotic model created by the American multinational Misty Robotics.

According Jaume Saltó Albareda, CEO of Grupo Saltó "We understood that there was a void within a very sensitive segment of the population where our elders are integrated, a space that we could fill with our technology, through a solution that complements the existing in terms of care and the accompaniment of the elderly to avoid that evil that is loneliness».

This creation competed with around 53 proposals, from 14 countries, and was awarded by Mobile in 2019.

The idea of ​​the project is to be both efficient, but economically affordable. “We started with the so-called ARI, and lately we have also incorporated the Temi robot into this project. They are robots whose appearance and expressions are totally affable and endearing, and they are configured to do facial recognition of the person for whom it is intended, so it interacts only with her," he says. Edward Manuel Sanchez, Sales Manager of the Saltó Group.

The true brain of the used and integrated robotics is the management platform, through which the robot's action orders are generated. Access can be through the web or through mobile access, through an app, and the user does not need any prior knowledge of programming and can plan the actions of the robot based on the personalized needs of the user to whom it is assigned. Their interactions can be based on asking the old man about his condition, if he has had breakfast or what he has eaten. It can be used as a reminder to take medicines, medical appointments and provide information to help the person carry out different procedures with organizations or Administrations.

All this information is transcribed to text on the platform, so Through an app, the caregiver or family member of the elderly can be continuously informed of the status of the person being cared for. The proposal can also be combined with any type of IoT Technology, so you could have information on any detail you want to control and monitor, and if the robot detects any anomaly it generates an alarm and makes an emergency call to the designated contact person.

Sánchez explains that “basically we could say that it is like a Roomba like the ones we are used to seeing in our homes. ARI has a power supply base to the electrical network to which it automatically goes once it has completed the actions that have been programmed for it. through the app. Therefore, the needs of this system for its start-up are only a Wi-Fi network to which to connect the system and a charging point to the electrical network.

On the terrain

The project generated an initial pilot phase with Barcelona City Council which was highly successful and received the call from the robot receivers asking to give ARI more time. This caused the start of a second phase of collaboration with the Council. Eduard Martín, CIO director of Intelligent Connectivity at Mobile World Capital points out that «the project will spend this year 2022 from 10 to 100 people. In this way we bring technology to many more homes and we have shown that ffacilitates the daily life of the elderly». The Saltó group has clarified that they are also focusing the project on minors and are talking with other companies to use it with the disabled.

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