Improved life expectancy is set to become one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. There are more than 1.5m over 85s currently in the UK, 66% of whom have a disability or longstanding illness. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%. 80% of seniors would prefer to “age in place”.
Older age is correlated with chronic diseases with spending on social care and continuing health care for older people in England is projected to reach £12.7 billion in 2022, while demographic changes have reduced the number of potential care-givers. Finding solutions to how older people can live independently in their own homes has become a priority for the UK government.
Gufo is a new robotic system purpose-designed to help people live independently in their own homes for longer. A small, autonomous airborne vehicle has been developed to perform helpful and potentially life-saving functions, interacting with the user through a digital assistant, voice-operated via smart-watch and purpose-built user-interface. Our goal is make the system as acceptable, usable and unobtrusive as possible, balancing privacy with the provision of effective care.
Proof-of-concept has now been established and a further phase of development is currently being planned. We’re looking for partners with expertise in UAV design as well as end-users interested in trialling the system.