Meet the Project Team

Cian O'Donovan

(Principal Investigator)

Senior Research Fellow at UCL

Maria Elena Giannaccini

Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Aberdeen

Praveen Kumar

Associate Professor in Stroke Rehabilitation at UWE Bristol

Siabhainn Russell

Research Fellow at UCL

Linda Brown

Senior Care Service Manager at Blackwood Homes and Care

William Wright

Project Lead, Innovation and Research at Blackwood Homes and Care

Fiona Ralph

Organisational Development Manager at Blackwood Homes and Care

Project Summary

This project will address a critical challenge for tackling frailty today: ensuring the responsible innovation of robotic systems for frailty co-evolves with the provision of training, or continued professional development (CPD) that meets the needs of health and care professionals who will increasingly share their workplace with autonomous systems. 

It can be difficult to learn how to use any new technology, and robots are more complicated than most new devices: everyone is going to need help in one form or another with their new robot.

Care professionals such as nurses, physios and occupational therapists often play a vital role in introducing new technology into domestic and care settings, making sure it works safely for individual users, and adapting it as people’s needs and circumstances change.

This project is about ensuring that health and care professionals are themselves trained to use assistive robots, so that they in turn can help people to make the most of them in a safe and secure manner.

However, it’s also important that care professionals learn about robots in their own way and at their own pace. In order to understand what this means, we’re bringing together professionals and some of the people they care for, and we’re asking them how they currently learn about new technologies. This will let us develop training courses and materials that will allow people to learn about robots in the easiest and most effective way.

The goal of the project is to produce a training programme for one particular robot, which helps with people with physical rehabilitation after a stroke, that we’ve chosen as an example. This training programme will then be tested with a class of student care professionals.

What we learn from this will then give us guidelines for creating training programmes for different robots that will both match the learning styles of users and provide reassurance that the robots are going to be used correctly, safely and effectively.

Project Plan