Singaporean researchers and robot engineers developed a robot that assists elderly people in walking and will catch them if they begin to fall. The Mobile Robotic Balance Assistant (MRBA) or “Mister Bah” is a “wearable assistive robot that can detect and prevent a fall before it occurs.”
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) collaborated on the development of the robot under the guidance of the National Robotics Programme.
The robot “uses its inbuilt sensors to detect a loss of balance and catches the user with its attached safety harness, which is worn around the user’s hips,” according to NTU. It can also “help users who have difficulty walking and balancing to stand up safely from a seated position and to sit down safely from a standing position.”
Falls are thought to be the biggest cause of injury-related deaths among the elderly in the United States. According to data from the World Health Organization, “falls are the second greatest cause of death from accidental or unintentional injuries globally,” NTU said.
All clinical trials were said to be effective, and they stated:
“No falls were recorded in the trials, which spanned three days per participant.”
The MRBA is still in clinical trials and will be subjected to more testing before it is planned to be commercially available in 2023.