SH&BA announces the CHIRON Conference on 12th April 2018

This week, on the 28th of February, the CHIRON Project, of which SH&BA has been a member, comes to an end. During this project, the CHIRON Team, has developed a proof of concept for robotic care assistance that can help people with disabilities from their chairs and beds and help them stand and move around their homes. As well as the Sit to Stand application, the CHIRON robotic system has been extended to help fetch and carry things for people and we can see the way forward to the CHIRON robotic system being used to clean and tidy a room, prepare meals and help with toiletting, washing and dressing.

The CHIRON Robotic System does not replace a carer. Rather it removes the heavy lifting that a carer has to do so that back injury from lifting patients will be a thing of the past and when as happens as people get old and less able to cope there is currently a need for two carers to attend several times a day which the CHIRON system will reduce to one carer potentially for less time. Our estimate is by installing the CHIRON system, there is a net saving that approaches £65 per day when two carers are needed.

Because the patient can converse with the CHIRON using a series of voice commands and receive verbal feedback, the system is available for the patient 24/7 which is far better than a carer calling in 3 times a day for an hour. Indeed, the system will allow people to stay at home in safety for most of their lives. Because, the system uses Amazon Echo or Google Home, the system can be linked with the care support provider or the local surgery so specialist help can be on hand quickly.

The project has had absolute safety in mind as it has developed the system and its sensors can detect objects and people and avoid running into them and causing any injury.  CHIRON is safe and will be there to help people.

The CHIRON project has arranged a conference on the 12th April at which we aim to announce to the world what we have done. Suffice it to say, our solution is innovative and will be cost effective.

To set what we have done in context:

Caring for our ageing population is already becoming a greater load on NHS and Social Care resources than the UK can pay for. As the demographic profile of our society moves inexorably into the future, the ability of the state and its resource and the resources of the UK population will be wholly insufficient to afford the majority of people in the UK a dignified old age.

This is not just a UK problem as the number of people worldwide over 65 is expected to rise to more than 1.6 BILLION by 2050. We know there will not be enough carers to go around even if they could be paid for. The same applies to care homes and nursing homes. There is simply not enough money or people to staff them properly and the result is paralysing the NHS, blocking beds and causing premature and unfortunate deaths.

  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could use friendly, gentle robots in our homes that would help us and those that care for us when the caring burden becomes too great.
  • Wouldn’t it be even better if our robots could take on the back breaking lifting that carers and nurses have to endure as people lose their mobility.
  • Wouldn’t it be nice if the robot, when it wasn’t doing the heavy lifting, could do jobs around the home, fetch and carry and prepare meals, to allow carers to do their job of providing the human contact with their patients.
  • Wouldn’t it be great if our robot could allow us to stay in the comfort of our own homes for most of the rest of our lives

During the past two years, the CHIRON Project has spent £2 Million researching and developing a solution to this potential demographic disaster and this Conference is designed to set the scene, look at the options and show what we have achieved. Emerging from the project:

  • We know we can build a robot that can safely help people get from sitting to standing and provide a stable support as they move around a room.
  • We know we can command the robot verbally to come and help us stand and sit and also to fetch and carry stuff for us.
  • We know we can use verbal control to tell the robot to do things.
  • Indeed, we know that we can achieve all of the ‘wish list’ above with what we have learnt and developed in the CHIRON Project.
  • We also have a good estimate of what it will cost to bring to market, how much it will then save the care sector (and people themselves) and its net present value under a number of scenarios.

SH&BA is a partner in the CHIRON Project and together we would like to share our findings with you and invite you to attend this conference in London near Waterloo on the 12th April.


There are three sessions which cover:

10.00 Session 1 – Context – Requirements for future caring
Session Chair Ms. Jobeda Ali – CEO of Three Sisters Care

11.30 Session 2 – CHIRON – Technology innovation, why technology and caring are coming together.
Session Chair Rich Walker, CEO Shadow Robot Company

14.00 Session 3 – New Models of Care
Session Chair Stephen Pattenden, Director SH&BA

At the end of each session there will be a discussion


For this conference, we invite everyone involved in care, from those working in care homes, to care charities, social care and social housing providers; everyone involved in robotic technology and AI and from Government to come and hear our project findings and join us in identifying how to take the project work forward to becoming a world class business and part of the economic solution to the issue of more and more people living longer. This conference is for everyone with an interest in the issues, realities, solutions and opportunities created by the demographics of our ageing society (and these could extend well beyond care into a new market demographic).


Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, Third Floor Suite

108 Stamford St





The CHIRON Project was funded under the SBRI scheme by Innovate UK


Next SH&BA Retailers & Manufacturers Panel 23rd May 2017


Following the very successful and insightful SH&BA Retailers and Manufacturers Panel on the 15th November 2016 (see above), the next panel meeting covering wider themes will be held on the 23rd of May at the IET Savoy Place London WC2R 0BL, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

As previously, the panel will exchange information which is valuable to growth of the smart home category. In this group we welcome those who are directly involved in the selling and retailing of smart home products and services – retailers, distributors and manufacturers. The chair of the Retail & Manufacturing panel is Adam Simon, and any questions about the event can be addressed directly to him at

Three topics will be addressed:

  • Steve Moore, Director of Connected Home at DixonsCarphone, will give insight into their recent JV with SSE – what does this mean for smart home?
  • Theunis Scheepers, Principal Business Development Manager for Alexa Voice Service, will present the opportunities for using the Echo and Alexa Skills for building healthy living solutions in the home
  • A representative of the DIY industry will present on how DIY is growing the smart home category
  • And our hosts, the IET, will give a brief input on “The business case for distributed DC (Direct Current) in the Smart Home”.


Priority for bookings will be given to members of the SH&BA until 6th April. The cost of attending the meeting is £100 (but free for SH&BA members). Those interested in becoming members are encouraged to sign up before the new rates come into effect on 6th April. Applications can be made online at

In order to permit the informal exchange of views and information which is fundamental to this panel, the number of attendees will be limited to 60 people, so if you are interested, please REGISTER soon. SH&BA Members will be informed of the “Promotional” discount code for free registrations.

We look forward to welcoming members of the SH&BA and other attendees to this upcoming panel.

The meeting will start at 10.30, lunch will be provided and close at around 15.30

At the meeting on the 15th November the following companies were present: Retailers: Amazon, DixonsCarphone, Maplin, ShopDirect Distributors: Brightstar, Data Select, Exertis, Maxiim, Tech Data, Thames Distribution Manufacturers: Awox, D-LINK, Delta Dore, digitalSTROM, Fibaro, Hauppauge, LightwaveRF, Myfox, Neato Robotics, Netatmo, Samsung, Sengled, Tado, TP Link Other: CONTEXT, Consumer Lab, Direct Line Group, Home Hub Installations, The Mustard Concept.

SH&BA Secretariat

Tel 01379 890 442 or 07802 886 775


Next SH&BA Health and Wellbeing Panel on the 9th March – Issues for action


Ideally, it is a house that is designed from the start to look after the people that will live in it regardless of their health and condition. So the Caring Home will be warm and comfortable, it will be easy and cheap to keep warm, it will be ready for all the smart systems that the smart home will use including the remote delivery of care services and it will be future proof.

However, we don’t live in an ideal world. Even in 15 years’ time, more than 95% of homes built by then will have already been built today. Most recent houses are built with scant regard for anyone bar the young or early middle aged and fit. Everyone would like to live in a Caring Home, but as yet there is little interest from house builders to support this demand or create home improvement systems where homes could be “refurbished” to the Caring Home level of comfort and safety.


Firstly we need to identify exactly what we all want from our Caring Home and then set a Caring Home “standard”. Secondly we must identify by what amount the home delivers in terms of its Caring Home standard rating. We can also compare this with additional cost for the occupants or their care providers of them not being in a Caring Home. These costs will fall increasingly heavily on the NHS, the social care system or relatives. It’s in almost everybody’s interest to do something but there needs to be a clear lead.

Over the next series of Panel meetings the Health and Wellbeing Panel will help define a Caring Home standard and in conjunction with the Built Environment Panel get to grips with the costs of refurbishment and the cost penalty of NOT having a Caring Home to live in.

So take part in the next Health and Wellbeing Panel on the 9th March 2017


Please register HERE


The SH&BA Health and Wellbeing Panel should be of value to all organisations working in and around Health and Social Care, those that deliver products and services to them and Consumer Groups with an interest in the services that Local Authorities and the NHS provide to people. We are aiming to raise awareness and understanding of new technology such as the Internet of Things and help Health and Care providers deliver better services to their communities. It is expected that the outputs from this Panel will be of value to all stakeholders involved in Social Care and Health either in providing or receiving them.

Registration is free to SH&BA members but £50.00 (Inclusive of VAT) for non Members. We encourgate you to become a member of SH&BA at

SH&BA has new Chairman

adam-simonLondon, 3rd February, 2017 – The UK Smart Homes & Buildings Association (SH&BA) has appointed a new chair: Adam Simon, Global Managing Director of market research company, CONTEXT.

Adam has been spearheading Smart Home research in CONTEXT, and has already organised two successful SH&BA events – the Smart Home Security Summit in November 2015 and the Smart Home Retailer & Manufacturer Panel in November 2016. “We are delighted that Adam has taken on this responsibility,” said Stephen Pattenden, industry veteran and secretary of SH&BA. “He has many ideas of how the association can make a real difference and, with his contacts and links across Europe, we will work with similar associations in countries such as France, Germany and Italy to become a truly European organisation. We thank Chris Amos, our previous chairman who has stepped down for personal reasons, for his contribution to the association.”

“The Smart Home industry is at an exciting point in its development, with voice control clearly a catalyst for the sale of smart-home products,” said Simon. “I look forward to working with my co-directors and members of the association to develop our activities, particularly those of the different panels – Security, Health & Wellbeing, Energy, Retailer & Manufacturer, and the new one we plan to launch focusing on technology.”

SH&BA News and Thoughts for Smart Homes

It is a year now since SH&BA reformed itself as SH&BA 2016 Limited but we are picking up members and running panel meetings that are adding to the understanding of the Smart Home and are adding new dimensions to the market.

As we indicate on the Home page a Smart Home is far more than the smart devices within it although these contribute greatly to the way people make their homes smart. SH&BA looks at Smart Homes from many perspectives and these include:


Reducing the energy the home uses and also the cost of that energy. This area of work includes projects which seek to look at groups of homes, buildings and businesses and to see how their aggregate energy can be bought as if by a “Large Energy User” and provided to all the end users at costs which are significantly less than when purchased directly from standard Energy Suppliers. (Of course it is in the energy suppliers interest to be involved in this since they have the opportunity to manage more effectively their trading and can grow their market). For this to be effective, these groupings have to be able to manage the overall load on the distribution system such that the system charges are minimised and energy costs through half hour purchase are constrained when energy is expensive. Our projects have looked at many potential groupings of end users and one of our potential solutions is to create community cooperatives that own, buy and provide energy for the group. There are many issues with this approach including the way energy is regulated. SH&BA will be discussing these issues in its Energy Panel.


Another area of this work is to lessen the amount of energy the Smart Home (and building) uses and SH&BA will be operating a Panel concerned with the built environment. This is an area where quite massive benefits can be realised. For instance, we know that Passiv Haus homes use virtually no energy and the technology to create homes such as this is well known. The question SH&BA and the UK and Europe (and the rest of the world) should be asking is “can the existing housing stock have its energy use lessened to around Passiv Haus levels?”. If we could do this today the amount the UK would spend on energy in the domestic sector would fall by around £30 Billion per annum (€600 Billion for Europe as a whole). Of course we cannot do this overnight, there are some 25 million homes in the UK and 20 times that in the EU, but we can look at the ways in which this can be achieved. SH&BA has looked at this in the past and came up with the 20 20 20 project which aimed to reduce the energy a house used to just 20% of its existing energy consumption, use off-site construction and robotic assisted systems for on site working 24/7 to do the work in (an average of) 20 days and do it for an average cost of £20k. The sums involved are massive, but for a 30 year period from 2020 the UK would be engaging in £18 Billions worth of construction, find work for potentially 500,000 people and increase GDP by upto £50 Billion per annum. The work would improve the homes of and employ people in every part of the UK. I will return to this in future blogs.


How people are cared for in our Smart Homes is also a major area of SH&BA’s work and we are involved with the CHIRON project which is looking at how we can introduce care assistance robots to reduce the pressure on carers, social services and the NHS. This is the subject of the next SH&BA Panel meeting. But we are also looking at what a home needs to be if it is to be a Caring Home and be a place where we are safe and well looked after as we age or if we have disabilities. Obviously Smart Systems and Smart Devices play their part and finding ways in which today’s elderly can use Smart devices and systems to help them live well is another area we will be looking at.

For instance, voice control is beginning to be used by many people at home now with Amazon Echo, Dot and Alexa but finding ways in which today’s elderly people can intuitively use them when the user may be in the onset of dementia is a major level of difficulty. However, such devices can begin to understand and converse with their subjects, they can deliver a level of conversation to deliver contact and intelligent presence and thus stimulation, motivation and reassurance for the isolated elderly are immense. Furthermore they can recover memories and feed these back to engage and stimulate people and potentially delay dementia. If a voice system can combat loneliness and provide contact with family and friends, one of the major problems of old age can be lessened.


There are two aspects of Security that SH&BA is interested in.

One is the physical security of the home and how safe the people living in it are. So a Smart Home must have windows and doors that are secured and have smart systems which ensure that doors and windows are locked and safe at night. Such systems often link to smart devices. SH&BA covers physical security under its Built Environment Panel.

The other is Cyber Security and this includes all the Smart systems in the Smart Home and the SH&BA Security panel addresses such questions as

  • Who is responsible for security in the Smart Home?
  • Who has the liability when failures of security cause loss of privacy, of money or injury.

The liabilities could be very expensive. Indeed for some companies, it could be existential.
Our belief is that every provider of any service or product for the Smart Home has some liability. If something goes wrong, they will need to be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • taken every step to ensure their product or service is secure and can prove it.
  • collaborated with other industry players to ensure their combined services are secure and can prove it.
  • followed every guideline put forward by standards, their insurers and government agencies and have followed “best practice” and can prove it.

This is not straightforward. Therefore the SH&BA Security panel going forward will consist of a series of meetings whose aim is to understand the issues and identify potential risks and their mitigation.


SH&BA has in the past been highly involved in helping members understand the underlying technology of the Smart Home. We will continue to do this as the technology landscape becomes evermore complex. Interoperability is still not something that is a given in the Smart Home and understanding all the systems and the interactions between them will help all the players in the Smart Home understand the issues. The SH&BA Technology Panel may well be held again this year.


Ultimately, if the Smart Home is to become something everyone has, then the supply chain between the people using such systems and the manufacturers and retailers needs to understand one another. SH&BA is feeding understanding across sectors through its Manufacturers and Retailers Panel which involves a wide range of service providers, manufacturers and retailers in attendance.

The consumer’s perspective though is not covered by SH&BA and we think that this is an issue. Perhaps this Blog will provide greater clarity for the people who buy and use Smart Systems, Smart Devices and Smart Appliances in their Smart Homes as the blog covers the above issues in more detail and provides feedback from the panel meetings.

Stephen Pattenden is a Board Member of SH&BA.






Next Health and Wellbeing Panel Meeting on 9th March 2017


The Health and Wellbeing Panel is concerned with the health and wellbeing of people in the buildings in which they live and work. Our premise is that wellbeing doesn’t begin at (say) 65 but is something that people need to consider for all of their adult lives.

Because SH&BA is concerned with the whole environment of the home and of smart communities, the focus is to understand the latest trends and development in the delivery of wellbeing, care and health and its interface with the “Smart” home and the opportunities offered by state of the art communications and sensing technology. It aims to reach beyond the existing rather closed Health Care / Social Care environment to ensure that health and social care professionals and ultimately the end users and their families and friends benefit from the holistic environment.

In previous meetings we have been working on a Consultation paper “Principles for Housing Wellness” – “How to continue living better” which were presented and made available at the “The Caring Home” – Conference last year.

With the increasing financial stress on social care and the issues that the NHS has with coping with the elderly, enabling people to care for themselves at home is becoming a national priority.


SH&BA in conjunction with Portsmouth University, has further developed the concept of the Caring Home to describe an improved home environment in which individuals are incentivised to self-care at home, and more care can be delivered by the statutory services at home. At Whitehill & Bordon where 3,500 homes are currently being built SH&BA is working with East Hants District Council and other stakeholders to include some of the ideas that are part of the Caring Home. In the CHIRON project SH&BA is working with the consortium partners to develop a prototype home-based robot care assistant.

SH&BA would like to invite you to attend this meeting to hear about:
•    Progress that has been made with the development and dissemination of the concept of the Caring Home
•    Work with the Whitehill and Bordon Healthy New Town programme
•    Involvement in the CHIRON project to investigate robots in the home for elder care
……………..and to contribute to the work going forward.
The meeting will be chaired by Richard Curry of SEHTA and Richard Foggie – KTN – UK
The agenda will follow these points:

•    Introductions
•    The Caring Home   Richard Curry
•    Whitehill and Bordon Healthy New Town programme
•    The CHIRON Project   Nigel Harris
•    Healthcare update   Richard Foggie
•    AOB

Looking forward, we will be investigating how voice activation systems such as Amazon’s Alexa and Echo will make it easier for people to manage their own care. CHIRON is already starting to utilise Alexa for controlling their future care robots and the possibilities of the conversational abilities of such systems to deliver contact and intelligent presence and thus stimulation, motivation and reassurance for the isolated elderly are immense.


Please register HERE


The SH&BA Health and Wellbeing Panel should be of value to all organisations working in and around Health and Social Care, those that deliver products and services to them and Consumer Groups with an interest in the services that Local Authorities and the NHS provide to people. We are aiming to raise awareness and understanding of new technology such as the Internet of Things and help Health and Care providers deliver better services to their communities. It is expected that the outputs from this Panel will be of value to all stakeholders involved in Social Care and Health either in providing or receiving them.

Registration is free to SH&BA members but £50.00 (Inclusive of VAT) for non Members. We encourgate you to become a member of SH&BA at

The Retailer and Manufacturer Panel



London, 7th December, 2016 – Industry experts meeting at the inaugural SH&BA Smart Home Retailer & Manufacturer Panel were unanimous that voice control is going to revolutionise Smart Home sales and accelerate mass adoption. The Panel also emphasised the opportunity of Smart Home for the elderly and disabled.

“Voice democratises Smart Tech but we are only 50% of the way there” said Rod Slater, head of Smart Home at Exertis. The panel of industry experts heard about where Amazon Echo is going since its launch in October. “Sales are going well. We’re at the early stages of voice control and have open-sourced the system to help develop the Alexa skills,” said Iain Dundle, Business Developer of Amazon Echo. “There’s a huge opportunity to have tie-ins to more products.” This was borne out by the participants, two thirds of whom already sell Echo compatible products and the rest have plans to do so.

The SH&BA Retailer & Manufacturer Panel also agreed that smart home provides an important opportunity to improve the quality of life of elderly and disabled people, and reduce the costs of care. “We should encourage and sponsor pilot projects to demonstrate the benefits,” said John Shermer, CEO and Founder of LightwaveRF, one of the leading UK manufacturers of Smart Home technology. “At the moment the potential of this area is not understood by the general public and we need to unite as an industry to give voice to this opportunity” commented Adam Simon of CONTEXT, citing only 4% of respondents to their European Smart Home Survey who showed interest in learning more about this. “For 2 million people in the UK who are blind or partially blind, smart home products enabled by voice control will change their ability to control their environment,” said Dendle of Amazon. The same is true for deaf people, elderly and those with other disabilities.

SH&BA is an Association which brings together experts in the Smart Home Industry. The Retailer & Manufacturer Panel met for the first time on 15th November with 32 attendees from 29 companies and will be meeting twice a year to act as a forum to discuss Industry issues for the Smart Home. At the first meeting of the panel, chaired by CONTEXT, the following companies were present: Retailers: Amazon, DixonsCarphone, Maplin, ShopDirect Distributors: Brightstar, Data Select, Exertis, Maxiim, Tech Data, Thames Distribution Manufacturers: Awox, D-LINK, Delta Dore, digitalSTROM, Fibaro, Hauppauge, LightwaveRF, Myfox, Neato Robotics, Netatmo, Samsung, Sengled, Tado, TP Link Other: CONTEXT, Consumer Lab, Direct Line Group, Home Hub Installations, The Mustard Concept.

Examples of other topics covered include: img_1128

  • Product curation: a vital topic which covers how manufacturers gain access to themarket .Different views were put forward, varying from the long-tail approach of Amazon to the curation offered by UK retailers. “Curation is a value-add that the retailer offers to the customer” said Alexander Allen, StrategyDirector of Maplin.
  • Product demonstration: it was agreed that demonstration is an important way of developing the category, but with technical problems such as connectivity in store and the need for space and resource, a call was made to manufacturers to make products with a demo mode (like TV’s) which makes it easy to demonstrate products straight out of the box.
  • From early adopters to mass market: the panel discussed how to reach out to non-tech savvy people. “How do we reach the new consumers? We need to generate use cases & bring it to life to enable transition of the technology from a ‘tech’ want to a lifestyle need. Assisted selling and rich content media will be critical to reach mass market” commented Teresa Johnston, head of Smart Home from Tech Data UK
  • Interoperability: the current state of protocol diversity was discussed, as well as the impact of voice control. “While voice control delivers connection to one point, and many products can be linked in, it does not resolve the interoperability issues” said Fraser Hamilton, Head of Purchasing of Brightstar. All agreed with the objective of interoperability, but the panel was reminded that proprietary systems have allowed start-ups to protect their IP in the early stages of company development.

Notes to Editors

About SH&BA

SH&BA is an Association which brings together experts in the Smart Home Industry. SH&BA’s mission is to grow the market for smart products and services through the exchange of knowledge and the promotion of new business opportunities and projects. To find out more about the SH&BA please go to the website on

For more information about this press release and the Retailer/Manufacturer panel please contact:

Adam Simon asimon@contextworld;com

+44 7748 903817

Conservative Technology Forum


SH&BA has been invited to share its experiences with the Conservative Technology Forum in Westminster on the 14th of September from 18.00 to 20.00.

The SH&BA organiser is Colin Mallett.

The emphasis will be on energy and especially how local energy services might be delivered. SH&BA has some background in this area and is a partner in the IODiCUS project. The meeting will cover:

— SH&BA Presentation

— IODiCUS Localised Energy Systems presentation

— Round table discussion; such as just what are the benefits of people grouping together to cut their energy costs and what are the barriers.

CLICK HERE for further details. This event is for paid up SH&BA Members only and is by invitation. Places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.

If you are not a paid up SH&BA member sign up on the SH&BA Membership Page and/or email for the URL for FREE registration.

Innovate UK Funding

Press Release (Feb 2016) by University of the West of England: Innovate UK funding for assistive robotic system will offer a ‘new perspective on ageing’

A consortium of leading researchers, care providers and robotics experts have received a major award of over £2m from Innovate UK to develop a modular robotic solution for the home to revolutionise long-term care by giving people the choice to stay independent in their own homes as they age.

The Office for Budget Responsibility recognises that by 2065, 26% of the population of England and Wales would be more than 65 years old, up from 18% today. With increasing numbers of older adults needing assistance in later life, there is a challenge for society as to how best provide and maintain high quality support, and ensure that people can stay integrated and valued members of their communities.

The CHIRON project is developing a connected system of modular robotic components, which can be adapted to different assistive tasks. CHIRON’s various components will be designed to be mixed and matched. This will enable the person using CHIRON to undertake a wide range of domestic and self-care tasks independently, which for some people could mean that their carer would then have more time to spend providing valuable social companionship. The project will create a prototype that will lead to the development of a commercially viable product.

The CHIRON consortium is led by Designability, specialists in assistive technology solutions that enhance people’s lives. The key technology partners are Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and Shadow Robot Company, experts in conducting pioneering research and development in robotics. Award winning social enterprise care provider, Three Sisters Care will bring user-centred design to the core of the project, with Telemetry Associates providing project management support. Smart Homes & Buildings Association, specialists in telecare and assisted living, will bring sector knowledge to the project to support commercialisation.

The project will draw upon the consortium’s expertise of working with end-users, clinicians, and health and social care providers, to develop an effective robotic solution that offers adaptability to a person’s changing needs.

Designability Director, Professor Nigel Harris said, “We are tremendously pleased to contribute to this work, focusing on the Long Term Care Revolution. This project is all about technological innovation and perfectly complements other work that looks at social innovation.”

Praminda Caleb-Solly, Associate Professor in Independent Living Systems, who is principal investigator on CHIRON in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said, “We are proposing a paradigm shift to enable assistive care robots to become a reality. Our approach is to combine modular functional units that work in a distributed manner, adapting to support user needs in context. The focus is on robust solutions that can be integrated with other products and assistive devices. This will also impact on personal and social perception and understanding of assistive robotics, and how people interact with these technologies to best support them.

“Our ultimate aim is to offer a new perspective on ageing, helping people realise their aspirations as they age. It is also important that CHIRON products look good and feel good. Aesthetic and beautiful designs that suit a range of preferences will be developed in collaboration with user experience and product designers. As the system develops it will be installed and trialled in the BRL’s Anchor Robotics Assisted Living Studio which will ensure that it is tested for safety and usability in a realistic environment.”

Sanja Dogramadzi, Associate Professor in Robotics, who is the project technology lead for BRL, said, “Our vision is a CHIRON in every home. CHIRON doesn’t have one body, but many. A set of intelligent modular robotic systems, located in multiple positions around your home; CHIRON could help you with personal hygiene tasks in the morning, help you get ready for the day and even support you in preparing your favourite meal in the kitchen. User-centred design is at the heart of the project. Through our research we will focus on the tasks that people tell us are the most burdensome and inhibit independent living, then design the system to help with these.”

Rich Walker, Managing Director of the Shadow Robot Company, said, “Shadow’s founding vision is to use robots to solve real-world problems for real people. This Long Term Care Revolution project will create a new generation of robot technology – affordable and aspirational – to change the way we think and feel about aging. We are fantastically excited by this opportunity.”

Jobeda Ali, CEO of Three Sisters Care, said, “The workforce requirement in domiciliary care has increased by 35% since 2009. Care providers like us are finding it extremely difficult to meet the shortfall. By 2025, nationwide we will have a workforce gap of 75,000 care workers. This ultimately means that older people will go without care or receive very poor quality care. Technology is a crucial part of the plan to meet this workforce shortage and this project will be instrumental in averting a care crisis as the UK’s demographic changes. Robotic assistance will allow more people to avoid being institutionalised and will allow couples to remain together if one of them needs extra care.”

A key component of the system will be a flexible wall or ceiling mounted robotic arm-like structure, which will fold away when not in use. The device will provide various degrees of support in assisting a person, depending on their particular needs. The hardware of the robotic arm will be part of an integrated system in the home, designed to be connected to other devices and sensors, and capable of responding to voice, visual and touch inputs.

In the future the design will enable the core device and system to be adapted and upgraded as the needs of a person changes, so that someone with a condition which changed over time could have their individual assistive robotic elements altered to provide the additional support needed.

The project will draw upon existing care technologies and develop new ones, focusing on economic, pragmatic and aesthetic designs that are affordable and desirable. Award winning social enterprise care provider, Three Sisters Care, in collaboration with Designability, will ensure that the user is at heart of the project.

The funding for this project has been awarded by Innovate UK‘s Long Term Care Revolution SBRI national challenge that aims to revolutionise long term care in the UK through business-led innovation. The two year project will begin in February 2016.

With acknowledgements to the University of the West of England 04/12/2015://