The next wave of development is based on data from using these technologies.
In recent years, surgical robots—robots that assist with blood sample analyses or are used as oxygen concentrators for COPD patients have gained acceptance in the healthcare sector. Some solutions are based on automation of processes that are relatively simple, while other solutions employ artificial intelligence when working on enabling the robots to mimic humans.
Professor Henrik Hautop Lund from DTU Electrical Engineering is one of the researchers who for many years has worked with the relation between hardware and software in a robot—or between the brain and body in a human body.
The aim is to create an artificial body intelligence, so that a robot, for example, can perform the same smooth movements as we humans and can adapt to changes in the surrounding environment, for example, walking on a heaving ship deck or catching a ball.
“I’ve used my research in modular robots as a starting point and inspiration for working on how we humans can be motivated to rehabilitate or strengthen our bodies. In this context, play is a great tool which has given me the idea to think the robot’s artificial intelligence into a tool that can be used in the healthcare sector for rehabilitation after diseases affecting both brain and body functions,” explains Professor Hautop Lund.
Impact studies necessary
One of the tools is the so-called Moto Tiles, large puzzle tiles with built-in sensors, which are assembled on the floor. The tiles glows in different colours that change when stepped on, which invites to a variety of games where you have to move around on the tiles.
“As a researcher, I could have stopped after I had developed the technology for the tiles. But if the high-tech research is to be used in society, we also need impact studies that contain the standard measurements which the health service uses, and which doctors and nursing staff use in their treatment plans,” says Henrik Hautop Lund.
“We’ve therefore carried out effect measurements of both physical functions such as balance, speed, strength and cognitive parameters and memory, concentration, and spatial conception both before and after use of the Moto Tiles for a therapeutic process, so that their effect could be documented.”
Next step: Big data
The next generation of the technology involves big data collected from the use of Moto Tiles among both ill and healthy. Measurements from 500 people of different ages and genders are currently being analysed by Henrik Hautop Lund’s research group and shows a predictable tendency towards physical and cognitive functions decreasing with age.
“On the basis of these data, the goal is to establish a normal score for different age groups and gender, so that we’ll be able to use these as a the fundamental basis for a prevention effort. If the physical function score should be 22 for a 68-year-old man, and he only scores 19, it would be relevant to take preventative measures to prevent falls, for example.”
The next generation of health technology is one of the themes which are in focus at the High Tech Summit, held 10 and 11 October at DTU. Here, you can, among other things, hear presentations from Henrik Hautop Lund and also participate in debates on future use of technology in the healthcare sector.
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