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Service robots boost Danish welfare

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03 November 2012



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In 2006, Denmark created a fund of three billion Danish kronor ($519-million) to study how technologies like service robots can be used to replace manual labour in various public services.

Social robots recommendation
One of the first projects was a public debate all over the country about ethics and new technologies, started by the Danish Council of Ethics. After the debate, the Council publishing its considerations on social robots. The Council believes that the development of robots for use among people as everyday help, as entertainment or therapy is a development that in time will involve more and more ethical consideration, including some which are currently to difficult to foresee or describe. It is therefore important that robot technology is followed-up and commented upon from an ethical standpoint. Denmark became one of the first countries in the world with recommendations on social robots.

Therapy robots for demetia patients
In 2008 a study found that therapy robot PARO soothed dementia patients and helped them communicate. Since then the Danish Technology Institute DTI has become the European distributor of PARO and encouraged every Danish nursing home to buy one. So far Danish nursing homes have purchased 110 PAROs, mainly with public funds.

Robot suit HAL
Japanese Cyberdyne established its first European subsidiary 2009 in Denmark to start a consortium to win government approval for robot suit HAL as health care equipment and for the leasing of HAL suits. HAL is a cyborg-type robot that can supplement, expand or improve physical capability. The project was funded by ABT fund of Denmark Government (a fund for projects on labour saving technology).

First eating and cleaning  robot tests
In 2009 the Municipality of Odense started first tests with the Japanese eating robot MySpoon and a large number of vacuum cleaner robots was evaluated at care centers in three municipalities from autumn 2010 to spring 2011.

Social robot drivers license
In 2010 Denmark was first in Europe to qualify care personal with a social robot drivers license. The first International Certification Workshop with a group of participants from Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden was at the DTI, in Odense. The aim of the workshop was to learn how to use PARO but also to discuss ethical issues.

Robot suit test for rehabilitation 
In 2010 Cyberdyn signed for collaboration with Rehabilitation Center in Odense  for starting a project funded by the Danish Government to introduce robot suit HAL to a rehabilitation center in Odense University Hospital for clinical trials regarding worker augmentation.

Robot Learning
In November 2010 Aarhus municipal visited the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) for a presentation of robots that can be uses in English language education. In 2011 the City has entered into a robot collaboration with KIST to test robots at Rehabiliteringscentret Vikærgården in Risskov and in elementary schools in Aarhus – among other things as a help in education children with ADHD.

First Danish Geminoid
In 2011 the first Geminiod outside Japan was developed at Aalborg University in cooperation with ATR and Kokoro. The purpose of the project led by Henrik Scharfe, Associate Professor, and Director of Center for Computer-mediated Epistemology, was to investigate certain aspects of Human Robot Interaction, the novel concept of Blended Presence, and by studying cultural differences in the perception of robots.

Robotic bed

In 2011 Japanese Panasonic and the Danish CareLab at DTI Centre for Robot Technology in Odense presented the latest version of Panasonic’s robotics bed, designed for people who have limited mobility and need an extra level of independence. Panasonic has collaborated with Danish robotexperts to optimize the usability of this innovative robotic device. The expertise of the Danish experts has helped Panasonic to get access to professional environments in nursing homes, in hospitals, in municipals and research institutes in Denmark, and to get better insight in real user needs and technical requirements. This gives Panasonic a competitive advantage to reduce time to market and Denmark access to state-of-the-art robotics in real case environments.

Hospital logistics robots
At the hospital of Jutland logistics robot Aethon TUG is tested for use in Danish hospitals. These smart carts can haul supplies around the hospital, making deliveries and pickups at a fraction of the costs of human workers.



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Wolfgang Heller





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