Pearl: A Mobile Robotic Assistant for the Elderly

Martha E. Pollack, Laura Brown, Dirk Colbry, Cheryl Orosz, Bart Peintner, Sailesh Ramakrishan, Sandra Engberg, Judith T. Matthews, Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, Colleen E. McCarthy, Sebastian Thrun, Michael Montemerlo, Joelle Pineau, and Nicholas Roy

The Nursebot project is a multi-disciplinary, multi-university effort aimed at developing mobile robotic assistants for the elderly. In this paper, we describe one such robot, Pearl. Pearl has two primary functions: (i) reminding people about routine activities such as eating, drinking, taking medicine, and using the bathroom, and (ii) guiding them through their environments. We provide a brief overview of the hardware platform, and we sketch the major software systems that enable Pearl to perform its two main functions. A prototype version of Pearl has been completely built, with all software implemented, and preliminary testing has been done at the Longwood Retirement Community in Oakmont, PA.

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