Meet the fitness instructor who’s a hit with Singapore’s elderly – and it’s a robot

To engage and motivate seniors in exercise routines, a humanoid robot known as Robocoach was created by Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) students to act as a fitness instructor to senior citizens.
The Business Times

“WE can do and serve more with less manpower,” said Chua Chee Yong, director of Emerging Services and Capabilities Group at Integrated Health Information Systems(IHiS), on how technology can be harnessed in a meaningful way to enhance accessibility and boost productivity in healthcare.

With around a quarter of Singaporeans set to be aged 65 and above in 2030, providing proper healthcare to an ageing population is an urgent concern for healthcare authorities here.

The fourth episode of the Smart City Web series will feature different solutions created to improve healthcare in Singapore.

For instance, robotic arms located in hospital pharmacies are used to counter the lack of manpower in hospitals. They are armed with intelligent software systems so that they can pick and pack high prescription loads safely and efficiently.

Not only will they achieve at least a 50 per cent reduction in queuing time for patients, they will also allow pharmacists to be more productive and allow them to do more frontline work.

To engage and motivate seniors in exercise routines, a humanoid robot known as Robocoach was created by Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) students to act as a fitness instructor to senior citizens.

The robot was dispatched to five senior activity centres. It has since become a hit among the elderly, with senior activity centres reporting an increase in seniors’ participation with the presence of new robots in the centres.

A new version of the robot called the Telebot is being developed. The NP team plans to deploy Telebot to the homes of seniors to improve their social and physical well-being.

To enable seniors to age-in-place with a sensor-enabled home, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is developing an initiative called SHINESeniors. The initiative will see unobtrusive sensors being installed by the team around the elderly’s homes to monitor their daily living patterns.

Should any deviation, such as fainting and falling, from normal activities be detected, community caregivers will be activated swiftly to provide personalised care.

SHINESeniors has benefited more than 100 senior citizens. SMU is studying the commercial possibility with the objective of reaching out to more elderly in the near future.

Smart City is a six-episode video series produced by The Business Times.

The series will cover some of the Smart Nation initiatives launched by Singapore in fields such as electronic payments, digital identity, and transportation.

Smart City is supported by the Info-communications Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) PSB programme.

Smart Nation is an initiative by the Singapore government to transform the Republic to a global city through technology and digital innovation.

The next episode will look into digital identity in Singapore and how it’s revolutionising the way we interact online.

The Web series will be released bi-weekly from September to November. It will be available on BT and other Singapore Press Holdings platforms.

To watch the videos, go to bt.sg/videos