Working with Japanese robotics developer, Cyberdyne, on trialling and launching HAL Lumbar type cobots, the Local Authority and PA Consulting, the global transformation consultancy have been keen to explore how cobots could help with the physical demands faced by stretched care sector staff. Already in use in Japan, cobots are worn around the lower back and actively support carers in moving objects or supporting people. Using electrodes, cobots can also detect electrical signals between the wearer’s brain and their muscles and convert this into motion.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Through our partnership with PA Consulting, we are proud to be at the forefront of using technology in care to assist people to live as independently as possible. Our trial of cobots is all about our carers-kit which supports them and makes their job easier.
“While we don’t yet know the extent to which cobots will help transform the delivery of care, early results are very promising, and I am increasingly confident that we will see them play an important role in supporting our care workforce both now, and in the future.”
In Hampshire alone, it is estimated that an extra 6,000 people in caring jobs could be needed over the next five years.
The County Council/PA trial of cobots began in February this year, and was quickly adapted in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with further investigation of how they could be used to help manage the challenges faced by care workers and informal carers who are supporting vulnerable people at this time.
The use of a cobot has shown that care for a person with complex needs which may have previously required two carers working together, can, in some instances, be delivered effectively by a single individual. This not only alleviates some social distancing concerns but will also help to make the social care system more resilient. In Hampshire alone, it is estimated that an extra 6,000 people in caring jobs could be needed over the next five years.
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