Germany: Robots for Elder Care – IOTW Report

Germany: Robots for Elder Care

Lacking Health Workers, Germany Taps Robots for Elder Care.

Newsmax: The white-coloured humanoid “Garmi” does not look much different from a typical robot — it stands on a platform with wheels and is equipped with a black screen on which two blue circles acting as eyes are attached.

But retired German doctor Guenter Steinebach, 78, said: “For me, this robot is a dream.”

Not only is Garmi able to perform diagnostics on patients, it can also provide care and treatment for them. Or at least, that is the plan.

Garmi is a product of a new sector called geriatronics, a discipline that taps advanced technologies like robotics, IT and 3D technology for geriatrics, gerontology and nursing.

About a dozen scientists built Garmi with the help of medical practitioners like Steinebach at the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence.

Part of the Technical University of Munich, the institute based its unit specialising in geriatronics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a ski resort that is home to one of the highest proportion of elderly people in Germany. MORE

21 Comments on Germany: Robots for Elder Care

  1. All fun and games til someone puts an eye out….or, it’s time for a prostate exam.

  2. How long after these gizmos hit the market before we see the first ones appear that have been modified into sex toys? Months? Weeks? Days?


  3. How sad that something like this has become necessary to care for the elderly.
    What so many of our elderly people need the most is human interaction. Too many are warehoused and have little contact with family.

  4. @Graceia — I share your sentiments. But I wonder if family contact will increase when family no longer have to go hands-on with incontinence cleanup… /-:

  5. I have pictures of that institutes surroundings however the skynets transports have no elevators and the pictures will have to be transported manually. Gastronomicswerks Periodic Tables in detail.

  6. The same fuckers who dream this shit up and/or would inflict same on their elderly relatives are the ones who also claim to have a monopoly on sympathy and empathy.

    Just as when abortion for convenience is the topic, they always run straight to a hypothetical case or cases in which they can elicit an emotional response, they have absolutely no compunction leaving their elderly relatives alone to die.

  7. From the country that brought us Adolph Hitler….

    Same response I give whenever the Goddamned Germans have the audacity to lecture Americans on gun control, or Global Warming, or anything else for that matter.

  8. JDHasty Adolph was Austrian (Braunau am Inn} Contemporary Austrians prefer to forget that little fact.

    Germany has hundreds of thousands of imported Merkel’s children who were supposed to ‘enrich the economy’ yet all they do is suck on the government. Can’t these sluggards at least be trained to empty bed pans, clean, change adult diapers, etc?

    As for Garmisch I am surprised it has such an elderly population since it’s a massive skier magnet. My parents lived there and my older brother was born there. It’s stunningly beautiful. One of my Aunt’s is in an elder hostel there sort of the equivalent of assisted living.

  9. Stunningly understated.
    Ober Hammers


    (takes breath)


    …I work with robots.

    i work with patients.

    Other than as surgical tools and adjuncts to basic services (such as automated BP cuffs), these two things should not be used together, PARTICULARLY with the elderly.

    Lets start here.

    There are a lot of sad, elderly, loney people. No one calls them?, no one sees them, no one cares about them, they’re just wasting away in quiet desperation in an assisted care facility, nursing home, or private residence/apartment that they lost the ability to take care of some time ago. Hygine problems and catheters/colostomy bags may keep what few visitors there are at further arms length, or may make them feel embarrassed and not want to see visitors. For these, the medical exam may be the -only- human contact they have, beyond harried nurses and aids changing their bags and (if they’re lucky) their bedclothes. Often no one ever ASKS or cares about their health other than people paid to do so, and some are simply glad to hear a human voice and have someone to share their concerns with. I’ve had folks somewhere between hypochondria and Munchausen’s request an ambulance just to have people to talk to, something to do, somewhere to go, and have activity centered on THEM for a little while.

    And you want to take even this pathetic outreach for the comfort of another caring human being and replace it with a Zoom call toting Roomba.

    You heartless bastards.

    …also, while I know the post-Coof millenials getting into medicine kind of suck at this anyway, the basic pillars of ANY exam are, and long have been, to inspect, auscultate, percuss, and palpate. Lighting and imaging issues can throw off your visualization of things like jaundice, anoxia, and hectic or pale coloration, processed machine hearing may not pick up rales or crepitations, and robot fingers aren’t going to be very easy or particularly safe to calibrate for percussion and even SIMPLE tests like a soft pinch for a quick skin turgor check or a fingertip squeeze to observe capillary refill is quite beyond what a robot can do, or be able to analyze if it could.

    And robots have the ultimate tunnel vision. The doctor on the other end only sees what’s in the robot’s FOV, only hears what the processors can hear. If you go into a patient you can gestalt them, look at the WHOLE patient, see if there’s tremors or eccymosis in places the patient may not be complaining about and hear of there’s a wheeze or a rattle or even excessive gas. Looking at a tighly focused complaint area may miss vital information for the problem at hand, or even one that can be deadly that the patient doesn’t even know about. Folks don’t always think that back pain may be a pancreas problem or jaw pain may be a heart failing, so they only complain about whar hurts and a remote exam only plays into that.

    And sometimes you learn things just talking to folks. Yes, you get symptoms and HX that way, but that’s not what I mean. How they say things, if they pause oddly or need to breathe between words, if they seem confused or spend a lot of time mashalling their thoughts or are slurring their speech can be pretty big tells.

    Robots don’t get that.

    And did you see them move? Do they shuffle, do they limp, is one side or even one limb partally or wholly unresonsive? The robot doesn’t know.

    And are you going to have the robot do blood drawz or injections on the weak, thin veins of the elderly? Not if you don’t want to perfuse their skin or give them a hemotoma or tear fragile skin you won’t.

    Robots, or remote controlled devices in this case, have their place, but that place is most DEFINITELY not in geriatric caregiving for this and many other reasons.

    Unless you actually want them dead.

  11. they’ll eventually be pod watchers
    it will be/is a form of restraint- psychological, from a fear of physical

    would a robot be able to triage responses in such an environment as that could be? is a robot trained to interact with demented and now confused people? And would a robot ask for help from a human, or be able to direct humans as a team?
    This wasn’t such a problem when ‘nuclear families’ were more popular.

  12. If it works it will be better than trying to depend upon someone to come in once a week to give necessary health care/medical care (like bathing). It was very difficult for me to get someone to show up, on time, and devote the necessary attention just for a couple of hours once a week. The rest of the time I or friends were there for her (or I took her to see her friends).

  13. I spend 2 to 3 days a week visiting a nursing facility (it’s not a home). I was NOT surprised NOT to see family members visit their loved ones. The most visitors are older wives or husbands who obviously have a deep relationship.

    How many other family members come to the facility? My observation, Very few.
    Having been a caregiver for my parents, two terminally ill grandchildren and my best friend, I understand. Nursing facilities, by far and large, is generally not a happy place, it’s difficult. Most patients don’t wish to be there and never anticipated living their last days housed in a 10×12 bare bones room with the only contact with the outside world being the Television, the care worker who changes their sheets, brings food or giving them a shower.

    Of all the Health Care workers, the staff’s in Nursing Facilities are the most under paid, causing greater turn around of employees and understaffing issues many facilities experience. Many are underskilled, but are caring individuals doing what family members cannot do (for needed medical care) or choose not to do.

    I’ve met some terrific, loving, caring underpaid staff members and many patients who are hungry for a conversation and personal contact. Patients are generally comprised of the last vestiges of the Greatest Generation and the two generations that followed who carried on the American way.
    Some patients see me as a long gray haired, bearded guy walking the hall to see my younger brother, others with dementia may see a son, brother, husband or an old friend from years ago that will stop to say hi and share a conversation and a prayer.

    Yes, being at the nursing facility is heartbreakingly difficult, but some of the greatest blessings I’ve received.

    Robots for Elder Care, even less human contact than now is not the answer. Pay Skilled Nursing Care workers a decent living wage and the understaffing of facilities will solve itself.

  14. The 5th Commandment still applies. A robot does not get you around that.

  15. German robots who care for the infirm? What do they do, inject the infirm with Zyclon B?

  16. Brave New World. Just pump the SOMA right into my veins.


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