We’ve written before about smart homes for seniors and ways in which wearable health tech and smart homes can work in conjunction. We’ve also covered robots of various types, from telepresence enablers to smart exoskeletons and prosthetics that aid human motion and tasks.

Scientists at Washington State University developed an elder care robot that can assist elderly people and others who need assistance with daily living tasks in their own smart homes. Called the Robot Activity Support System (RAS), the robot monitored activities via sensors in WSU’s smart home. The RAS keeps track of residents and what they are doing. When it detects that a resident needs assistance, it moves to the person’s location and — depending on the activity and what’s going on — can provide video information on how to complete a task or direct the resident to a location where she or he can perform a scheduled action. For example, if a resident missed a scheduled snack or didn’t take medication, the RAS could find and then remind him or her and then lead the resident to the kitchen or medicine storage. The WSU researchers published their work in the journal Cognitive Systems Research.

It’s easy to think of applications for WSU’s RAS or similar activity support systems. Elderly people with dementia, people with ADHD or other attention issues, or just people who find themselves chronically focused on one area of their lives to the expense of other aspects of living could all benefit from a mobile assistant that rolls up and delivers reminders and offers to help.