GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (/exchange>PINKSHEETS/exchange>>/>: GCKO) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) announced today that during their first week of real world evaluation trials, for their fully autonomous personal companion home care robot, the CareBot™, they have learned some surprising and some, not surprising, insights. GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging Mobile Service Robot (MSR) industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service™."
"Practical, cost effective mobile robot solutions are our primary goal. We were very pleased to have begun last week our first in home trials of this new assistive care home appliance, a customizable personal companion robot with telepresence capabilities. During this first week we have learned some important, but seemingly simple insights, such as the appropriate voice synthesis characteristics needed by the elderly with hearing loss, for example. This has been an important insight as we integrate our CareBot into the home environment. We have been using the end user interface to customize the voice reproduction (synthesis) in our verbal interaction software, GeckoChat™, such that the care receiver can readily understand timely (using GeckoScheduler™) verbal reminders for their medications, upcoming TV shows, family visits, etc. Now we begin proving our long held belief that personal companion mobile robots, like the CareBot, can help tens of thousands of families take better care of their loved ones while saving significant monies," remarked Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.
"My widower mother will be ninety-four next April. She had detached retina surgery some years ago and as an unfortunate side effect her short-term memory was reduced to only two to three minutes. So while she has many of the Alzheimer victim issues, her short-term memory has not continued to degrade as is common with most Alzheimer sufferers. However, due to this type of memory loss she has lived with my husband and me for over eight years because of her consequent frequent disorientation.
"The family is really enjoying customizing the CareBot's persona for Mama. Mama is well known within the family for her daily ritual of at least one bowl of ice cream. So we thought to tease Mama a bit when we had the CareBot ask her, 'Would you like a bowl of ice cream?' When Mama heard the robot speak, she broke into a big smile and said an emphatic, 'Yes!' While her joyful response was not unexpected had a live person asked her, her reaction to the CareBot's inquiry, was very heart warming. I am looking forward to further exploration of family to robot to care receiver social interaction in the coming weeks and months of these in home assistive care robot trials," remarked the baby boomer caregiver.
"We have worked for some years to develop the ability for our CareBot MSR's to intelligently listen and respond to spoken commands of the caregiver and/or care receiver as we have learned in our extensive market research (focus group) work. GeckoChat can be readily customized for words, phrases and sentences to be recognized by the care receiver and appropriate, desirable responses by the family," observed Spencer.
"We developed the CareBot primarily for family care. Hence a simple and intuitive user interface is extremely important. This pushed us into developing verbal interaction functionality using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies several years ago," stated Mark Peele, Vice President, R&D, GeckoSystems.
While personal robots cannot reliably sense and respond to human emotions, due to the many different means available to the end user, CareBot persona can be easily customized as to voice tonality, cadence, pitch, breathiness, volume, choice of words, etc. Further, the words and/or phrases chosen in response to anticipated questions to the CareBot can be colloquial in the word choice and approximate the native dialect using various user settings in the software and/or hardware. With the foregoing capabilities there is now a new type of surrogate companion, not only for the elderly, but also other family members such as children and/or the chronically ill.
"GeckoChat continues the suite of our fundamental GeckoSavants™ with the disparate, functional benefits needed to cost effectively provide utility to families for remote care taking of their members and other loved ones by making them more personal and uniquely adapted and addressed to the particular person to be assisted. Not only does this capability enable new forms of social interaction and community for families -- even when dispersed geographically --, it will also increase ROI for our investors," remarked Spencer.
Like an automobile, mobile robots are made from steel, aluminum, plastic, and electronics, but with ten to twenty times the amount of software running. The CareBot has an aluminum frame, plastic shroud, two independently driven wheels, multiple sensor systems, microprocessors and several onboard computers connected in a local area network (LAN). The microprocessors directly interact with the sensor systems and transmit data to the onboard computers. The onboard computers each run independent, highly specialized cooperative/subsumptive artificial intelligence (AI) software programs, GeckoSavants, which interact to complete tasks in a timely, intelligent and common sense manner. GeckoNav™, GeckoChat™ and GeckoTrak™ are primary GeckoSavants. GeckoNav is responsible for all fully autonomous maneuvering, such as avoiding dynamic and/or static obstacles, running errands and patrolling. GeckoChat is responsible for interaction with the care-receiver such as answering questions, assisting with daily routines and reminders, and responding to other verbal commands. GeckoTrak, which is mostly transparent to the user, enables the CareBot to maintain proximity to the care-receiver using sensor fusion. The CareBot is an internet appliance that is accessible for remote video/audio monitoring and telepresence.
"With these in home trials continue to progress nicely with no unforeseen 'gotcha's,' we have already learned a great deal as to the reality of beneficial social interaction between human and robot in domestic settings and its very important potential positive impact on the internal dynamics of the extended family using a CareBot to communicate their desire to cherish, honor and watch over their neediest family members," concluded Spencer.