Robosoft’s Kompai

Image of the Kompai telepresence robot.

Originally developed to assist seniors in their homes, Kompai is a service robot first, and a telepresence robot a close second. Kompai recently participated in DOMEO, a European research project that focused on bringing assistive robots into the homes of elderly patients, obtaining both social interaction data as well as functional data. This was one of the largest and longest service robot projects ever to take place and the results will certainly be analyzed to understand better the relationships between robots and humans as well as the abilities that roboticists think are useful and what patients and the caregivers will actually need. Kompai was developed by Robosoft to be an interactive robot that can function not only as a pseudo-caregiver but also as a guide or greeter. On the healthcare side, it can record activity and vital data to health care professionals or family members as well as assist with daily tasks and reminders. The ability to perform and facilitate mental exercises is a capability, but did not seem to be part of the study. The results of DOMEO were mixed with both praise and criticism from health care workers and patients. Negative reactions included poor performance and too technical, while positive feedback included the ability for healthcare professionals to check on patients, while patients liked the telepresence function to communicate with family and friends. I can easily see where the addition of an arm would increase the functionality, but I also see the technical complications increasing as well, a bit of a blessing and a curse. To help accelerate research and development, Robosoft signed a collaboration agreement with Hoaloha robotics in late 2010 to further each other’s products by combining their strengths. Hoaloha has been primarily focused on the software and services side of the business, while Robosoft has been doing well on the hardware side. You should expect to see more activity out of these two companies, as more of the Baby Boomer generation retires.

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