Meet the Project Team

“We believe that people need affordable solutions that are bespoke to their needs, and which provide maximal value by being modular in their functionality.” 

Dr Alistair MacConnell

(Principal Investigator)

Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University

Dr Mary-Ellen McKendrick

Associate Professor in Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University

Ms Camila Jiminez Pol

Kompanion Co-founder, Chief Design Officer.
User Researcher and Product & Industrial Designer

Mr Alexandre Colle

Kompanion Co-founder, CEO
Edinburgh Centre for Robotics CDT RAS Student

Mr Scott Macleod

Kompanion Co-founder.
Robotics PhD Student at Heriot-Watt University

Dr Ronnie Smith

Kompanion Co-founder.
Senior Robotics Engineer at The National Robotarium, Heriot-Watt University

Mr Andy Coleman

Entrepreneur in Residence for The Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh

Mentored by:

Dr. Mauro Dragone

Project Summary

This project will combine co-design practices, informed by participatory design research and robotics knowledge to co-produce a hydration module with end users.

One aspect of healthy living that is easy to overlook is maintaining proper hydration – that is, making sure that we have enough to drink throughout the day. This is one of the areas where we think a robot could help: it could, for example, remind you to have a cup of tea if it’s been a while since lunchtime, or simply bring you a drink while you’re sitting watching TV.

But staying hydrated is only one of the many tasks that robots could help us with, and we don’t want to have to build a new robot for each of these tasks: it would cost a lot to develop, and no one is going to want – or be able to afford – a dozen robots in their home! For this reason, we’re developing our robot – which we call Robobrico – to be what’s called a “modular robot”. This means that, although the basic robot stays the same, we can change a few parts and run a different program, and Robobrico could now be doing the vacuuming instead of making us a cup of tea.

But we have to take things step-by-step, so to begin with we’re thinking about how to keep people hydrated. To give us some ideas, we’ve asked the residents, and their family members and carers, of a supported living scheme for older people in Edinburgh for their thoughts. 

Based on their suggestions, we’re now developing a hydration module for Robobrico. Once it’s ready we’ll take it back to show the residents and, if it’s successful, we can start to think about other ways of using Robobrico to make their lives a little easier.

Project Plan