IBM, Rice create AI-powered robot for senior healthcare

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IBM Research is collaborating with Rice University's computer and psychology departments to create a prototype robot, called the IBM Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant.

IBM Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant, or IBM MERA, is an artificial intelligence-powered robot meant to help elderly patients and their caregivers. IBM MERA uses speech-to-text, text-to-speech or natural language classifier applications to allow users to interact with the robot, asking health-related questions about their symptoms and vital signs.

IBM MERA is also equipped with CameraVitals, a technology co-developed in Rice University's Scalable Health Labs. The technology detects vital signs — like heart and respiratory rates — by recording a video of a user's face, allowing the robot to obtain noninvasive readings throughout the day. Other IBM MERA capabilities include using an accelerometer to determine whether a user has fallen.

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