Helping humans live longer and better
Forget every science fiction stereotype you know about robots—researchers like the University of Toronto’s Dr. Goldie Nejat, Canada Research Chair in Robots for Society, are looking at new ways of integrating robots into everyday life.
Nejat believes robots are a powerful technology that could meet the increasing care needs of an aging population—one of the great social challenges of our time. According to a recent United Nations report, by 2050, 2 billion people around the world will be older than 60, and that by 2100 that number will reach 3 billion.
Emerging applications for service and personal robots include assisting in health and elderly care for physical and cognitive augmentation; being companions, helpers in the home or workplace, and guides in hospitals; and providing policing, search and rescue, and residential and commercial security services.
Nejat has already made her mark uncovering possibilities offered by robots. Her socially assistive robot Brian was recently featured in a Time magazine feature, and she received Engineers Canada’s 2013 Young Engineer Achievement Award.
Nejat’s research as a Canada Research Chair will explore new and improved ways of enabling robots to work directly with humans. Her work will include developing technologies needed for robots to perform complex and interactive behaviours. Collectively, these innovations should prove to be of great use in improving health and elder care, as well as in many other aspects of modern society.