Stretching Their Reach: Robotic Support for Older Individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment, Early Alzheimer’s Dementia, and Mobility Impairments

National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) Small Business Innovation Research Phase II Grant #R44 AG072982

On January 31st, 2023, McKechnie Family LIFE Home hosted the kickoff meeting for the Phase II of the Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute on Aging (National Institutes of Health), awarded to advance robotic support in physical and cognitive tasks. The project is a collaboration between Hello Robot, the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, and Clark Lindsey, a Life Plan Community. This grant will determine how assistive robots can support the needs of older adults with cognitive impairment and those with mobility impairment. The meeting was attended by the University of Illinois team, led by CHART Director Dr. Wendy Rogers along with other Applied Health Sciences collaborators, Dr. Raksha Mudar (CHART Steering Committee Member) and Dr. Harshal Mahajan. Also attending was the Clark Lindsey team, led by the CEO, Ms. Deb Reardanz (CHART Steering Committee Member), and the Hello Robot team (which joined remotely), led by Dr. Aaron Edsinger and Dr. Charlie Kemp. An overview of the grant goals and specific aims was presented by Dr. Rogers, technical updates and business goals were presented by Dr. Edsinger and Dr. Kemp and an overview of Clark Lindsey was presented by Ms. Reardanz. The outcomes of the studies conducted in Phase I of the project were reviewed at the meeting with ideas generated to improve on studies to be conducted in Phase II. The meeting ended with plans for the next steps to achieve the goals outlined in the grant.