Rise of the Social Robot, Part 3: Healthcare Comes Home

Rise of the Social Robot, Part 3: Healthcare Comes Home

There are quite a few buzzworthy talking points when it comes to robots. Will they take our jobs? Will they take over the world?

With this series, however, we strive to focus on the positive effects being brought to the industry by the robotics revolution.

In part one, we explored whether robots were just a fad. Yet, part two proved that this technology is anything but, and we have inevitably reached a tipping point. Now, in part three, we aim to outline the positives being brought to the smart home industry through robotics, specifically in home healthcare.

With homes becoming smarter and healthier, builders should always look towards the future, and robots are undeniably becoming more and more a part of this space.

RELATED: Rise of the Social Robot, Part 1: Fact or Fad?

Rise of the Social Robot, Part 2: The Tipping Point

The Beginnings of Robotic Healthcare


Researchers have been exploring ways to blend robotics and home healthcare for nearly a decade.

For example, back in 2008, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed a robotic assistant called uBot5, which was designed to dial 911 in case of emergencies. It also reminded clients to take their medication, helped with grocery shopping and allowed for direct communication with loved ones and health care providers via video.


Two years later, Georgia Tech Healthcare Robotics Lab released its humanoid robot model, Cody. It was designed to be a “robotic nurse” capable of helping the elderly in their daily activities. These researchers helped spark trends for years to come, and the current robotics space is witnessing plenty of innovations that advance upon these original ideas.

Meet Pillo: A Pill-Dispensing Social Robot

Already having reached nearly 120 percent of its $75,000 goal on Indiegogo, Pillo is a blend of social robot concepts and healthcare that indubitably has the industry stopping to pay attention.

Pillo is a health management robot that can answer questions, connect people directly with their healthcare professionals and securely manage vitamins, pills and prescription medication. It stores, dispenses and even orders medication when a refill is needed. 

The robot is also intelligent in design, able to learn about the families or individuals it is caring for, thus allowing its functionalities to evolve.

Other Pill-Dispensing Robots

Mabu from Catalia Health.
Mabu from Catalia Health.

However, Pillo is not the only healthcare robot performing these tasks for the smart home.

Catalia Health has a robot by the name of Mabu that, like Pillo, is aimed at keeping homeowners on top of their medications. However, Catalia Health has a specific goal of long-term patient engagement. It monitors dosages and collects data for healthcare providers to better understand healthcare plans.

While Mabu embraces the social robot side more, HERO is a smart appliance more than anything. Its specific function is to store, dispense and manage pills.

Additionally, current on-the-market robots and AI systems—Jibo, Amazon Echo and even your smart phone—can remind people to take their medication.

It’s clear that healthcare and robots are not only becoming a stronger part of the TecHome, but they are working together to do so. Builders wishing to stay afloat in this ever-changing industry need to watch these developing trends and evolve their business in unison.

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About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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