Tackling Frailty: Facilitating the Emergence of Healthcare Robots from Labs into Service

An EPSRC Healthcare Technologies Network+ Project


The EMERGENCE Healthcare Technologies Network+ are announcing a third and final Robotics for Frailty Challenge Funding Call. Deadline for submissions 12/02/2024. Full details can be found here

Emergence Logo made up of a vector image depicting a person in an exoskeleton walking up an incline above the word Emergence.

Emergence Project Vision

The network will facilitate the creation of a sustainable healthcare robotics eco-system connecting researchers, industry and healthcare providers, in order to build the infrastructure and systems to drive world-class advances in healthcare robotics research and development to support people living with frailty within communities in the UK.


Why Frailty?

Individuals with frailty have different needs but, commonly, assistance is needed in activities related to mobility, self-care and domestic life, social activites and relationships. Healthcare robots are increasingly recognised as solutions in helping people improve independent living, by having the ability to offer physical assistance as well as supporting complex self-management and healthcare tasks when integrated with patient data.

A close up, slightly overhead shot of an older man with grey hair and a moustache who is smiling and looking down and away from the camera
An older couple are sat in brown armchairs with a coffee table between them. There is a cupboard in the background with a TV on top. On the coffee table are white mugs, coasters, a potted cactus plant and two mobile phones. Both are looking down at the floor at a white robotic dog with grey ears, a greay tail and a blue collar.

Why Robotics?

Individuals with frailty experience changes in their conditions over time, both in the longer term and the shorter term. Traditional assistive technologies struggle to adapt to these changes and are typically abandoned by their users as a result. Robotic solutions can be more easily personalised and developed to sense changes in behaviour and environment, draw inferences and make decisions in order to be able to adapt how support is delivered. 

Living Lab Test Beds

To enable the design and evaluation of healthcare robotic solutions, the network will utilise living lab test beds. Funded feasibility studies will drive co-designed, high-quality research that will lead to technologies capable of transforming community health and care.

An image of the Cobot Maker Space at the University of Nottingham. A room with a white floor and ceilling, black windows and curtains which has white desks and green chairs in it. There are laptops on  some of the desks, other desks are on wheels and have robotic arms attached. In the middle of the image is a tall white robot with a large screen on the front. The robot has a humanoid shape.

Cobot Maker Space
University of Nottingham

Founded by the Smart Products Beacon at the University of Nottingham, the Cobot Maker Space offers a welcoming environment to create innovative technology in a space to connect and collaborate with an interdisciplinary group of researchers. 

A human hand reaches out to a white robotic hand.

National Robotarium
Heriot-Watt University

The National Robotarium is a world-leading centre for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, creating innovative solutions to global challenges. Pioneering research moves rapidly from laboratory to market, developing skilled visionaries and delivering substantial benefits for society.

Health Innovation South East Scotland
Midlothian Test Bed

Health Innovation South East Scotland (HISES) is an Innovation Test Bed set up by the Scottish Government Chief Scientists’ Office which forms part of national network created to deliver the Government’s vision to utilise the innovation process to deliver a healthier and wealthier nation for the future. 

An image from the AWRC depciting a small humanoid robot standing on a black desk.

Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC)
Sheffield Hallam University

The AWRC is the centrepiece of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, dedicated to improving health and wellbeing through movement offering world-class research and design through state-of-the-art facilities and wide-ranging academic expertise.

An image of the Home Lab at the University of Sheffield. The image shows a room with a round table with four black chairs around it. There is a small brown sofa in the background, a small cupboard unit and a large lampshade. There is also a partition wall against which stands two kitchen cupboard units and an oven. There are various cooking utnesils hanging on a rail above the oven.

University of Sheffield

Situated within the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH), the Home Lab acts as a link between research teams and end users, bringing patients, carers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, researchers and industry into the research environment to co-create, catalyse and accelerate the translation of research into practical solutions and real-world products. 

An abstract photo of various robotos in the Robot House at the University of Hertfordshire. There are three robotos in the image. All are white. The main robot which is focus in the middle ground of the image is a white humanoid robot with arms and a tablet shaped screen attached to it's chest..

Robot House
University of Hertfordshire

The Robot House is a four-bedroom home that has been adapted into a unique research facility for human-robot interaction. It is equipped with the latest generation of robotics platforms, including state-of-the-art care robots for assisted living used by researchers to explore new ways to make collaboration between robots and humans more effective. 

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Email emergence@nottingham.ac.uk for more information or click below to join the network

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