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Robotics – new technologies for an ageing society

Plenary / Panel
english language


Professor of Gerontology and Director, Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford Abstract
Population ageing has been occurring in many countries within Europe, North America and elsewhere. However, recently the pace, size and global reach of such ageing began to be recognised, and the wider implications assessed. Global ageing is emerging in the context of globalization itself, a world increasingly dominated by the flow of human and economic capital across national boundaries. Indeed, a key stimulus to such capital flows is the emerging demographic imbalances arising from the differential movement of regions into maturity. Thus while an understanding of the dynamics of globalization is essential to address the challenges and opportunities of ageing societies, so it is also necessary to understand the dynamics of global ageing as a component of globalization, addressing it at both the global/institutional and societal/institutional level.
The challenges of this ageing world involve both recognizing how these will play out under different demographies, welfare regimes and cultures, and understanding the capacity societies, institutions and individuals will have to adapt. It is increasingly clear that technology will play an important role in enabling this adaptation. New technological developments are occurring in health and social care, transport, inter-generational relationships, workplaces and homes, all requiring adaptation in the light of ageing. It is important, however, to consider the interface between new technological developments, such as digital media or robotics for example, and the people, of different generations, ages and educational backgrounds who will increasingly be interacting with this technology.
Chairman, Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH, Offenbach am Main
Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba Abstract
Since 1993, Paro, a baby seal robot, has been developed for two purposes: one is for as companion at home, and the other is for therapy at hospitals, elderly institutions, schools, and so on. In 2005, Paro was commercialized in Japan, and so far, more than 1,300 units have been sold there. About 70% of customers are individuals, and about 20% are institutions.
As research on international comparison of evaluation of Paro by people, we had questionnaires to visitors who interacted with Paro at exhibitions in seven countries; Japan, Korea, Sweden, UK, Italy, Brunei, and US. Most people had high evaluation value on Paro regardless of countries. However, when we analyzed the data by the principal component analysis, two different usages of Paro were observed; one was for pet, and the other was for therapy.
In Japan and Korea, people expected Paro to be a pet for them. In Sweden, Italy and UK, people expected Paro to be for therapy. In US and Brunei, people expected Paro for both types. In Japan, this result has similar tendency to the ratio of individual customers of Paro. In relationship between human and animals, there are cultural differences between Asia and Europe. For example, most Japanese people do not know nor believe animals in therapy.
In Denmark, Danish Technological Institute (DTI) have been distributing Paro only to welfare institutions and hospitals in Denmark since late 2008. So far, more than 100 welfare institutions and hospitals in Denmark have been using Paro, especially for caring elderly people with dementia. DTI plan that they will introduce 1,000 Paros to elderly institutions in Denmark by 2011.
In the US, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) certified Paro as a "medical device" in Sep. 2009. Since Dec. 2009, Paro has been officially sold in the US. So far, about 50 Paros have been used there.
I will explain details of how Paro works for therapy, especially for elderly people with dementia. Then, I will explain how Paro has been introduced in the welfare systems.
President Emeritus, Jacobs University Bremen Chair

Ph.D. Sarah HARPER

Professor of Gerontology and Director, Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford

 Sarah's research concerns globalization and global ageing, and the impact of population change, in particular the implications at the global, societal and individual level of the shift in population ages from predominantly young to predominantly older societies.
 Particular research interests are the impact of this demographic shift on intergenerational relationships and work. She has undertaken research in the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific with particular interest in China, Japan and Malaysia, and is a PI the Global Ageing Study, a survey of 44,000 men and women aged 40 to 80 in 24 countries. She was first post holder of International Chair on Old Age Financial Security at the University of Malaya, advising the government on pension security.

Prof. Dr. Edgar KÖRNER

Chairman, Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH, Offenbach am Main

 Studied Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Cybernetics at Ilmenau Institute of Technology, Germany
1976-1984 Assistant Professor and Senior Staff Researcher, Ilmenau Institute of Technology
1977 Dr.-Ing. in the field of Biomedical Cybernetics, Ilmenau Institute of Technology
1984 Habilitation in Biocybernetics, Ilmenau Institute of Technology
1984-1987 Research Fellow, Bioholonics Project of JRDC, Tokyo
1987-1988 Associate Professor, Ilmenau Institute of Technology
1988-1992 Full Professor in Biocybernetics and Head of Department of Neurocomputing and Cognitive Systems, Ilmenau Institute of Technology
1992-1997 Chief Scientist at Honda's R&D Wako Research Center, Japan
1997-2003 Executive Vice President and Head of the Future Technology Research Division, Honda R&D Europe
2003-2010 President of the newly established Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH
since 2007 Co-director, Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics, University Bielefeld
 His research interest covers brain-like intelligence, with a special focus on self-referential control architectures, self-organization of knowledge representation, and autonomous robots.
since 2010 Chairman, Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH

Ph.D. Takanori SHIBATA

Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tsukuba

1991 M.S. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, Nagoya University, Japan
1992 Ph.D. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, Nagoya University, Japan
1993-1998 Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology AIST
1995-1998 Research Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Lab., Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT
1996 Visiting Research Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Lab., University of Zurich, Switzerland
since 1998 Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology AIST
 His research interests include human-robot interaction, robot therapy, and humanitarian de-mining. He was certified as the inventor of a seal robot named Paro, the World's Most Therapeutic Robot, by Guinness World Records in 2002.
2009-2010 Deputy Director, Information and Communication Technology Policy, Bureau of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan

Dr. Joachim TREUSCH

President Emeritus, Jacobs University Bremen

1970 Professur in Frankfurt
1971 Lehrstuhl für Theoretische Physik in Dortmund
1984-1986 Präsident der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft
seit 1987 Vorstandsmitglied der Kernforschungsanlage Jülich (KFA)
1993-1997 Vorsitzender der Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren
1995-1996 Präsident der Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte
1990-2006 Vorsitzender des Vorstands der Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
1999-2003 Vorsitzender des Deutschen Verbandes Technisch-Wissenschaftlicher Vereine
2000-2006 Vorsitzender des Lenkungsausschusses "Wissenschaft im Dialog"
2006-2012 Präsident der Jacobs University Bremen

Technology Forum

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10:00 - 12:30Technology brunch of Tiroler ZukunftsstiftungSocial
13:00 - 13:10Welcome statementPlenary
13:10 - 13:30Opening of the Alpbach Technology Forum 2010Plenary
13:30 - 14:30Opening speechesPlenary
14:30 - 15:20Engineering Biomolecules for Basic Science and Biotechnological ApplicationsPlenary
15:40 - 17:10New ways of innovationPlenary
17:10 - 18:00Energy independence and the availability of resourcesPlenary
20:00 - 21:30Robotics - new technologies for an ageing societyPlenary
21:30 - 23:30Career Lounge Evening event with a buffet dinner for students, graduate scientists and young professionals, hosted by the organisers of the Alpbach Technology ForumSocial
21:30 - 23:30Evening reception hosted by Forschung AustriaSocial


09:00 - 18:00Junior Alpbach - Science and technology for young peopleBreakout
09:00 - 16:00Special Event: Opportunities and challenges - ERA-Nets as drivers of international cooperationBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Technology Workshop: Innovative Internet technologies for intelligent, sustainable and integrative growthBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 01: Electromobility - from vision to realityBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 02: Innovation for social changes - equal opportunities in a digital eraBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 03: Finally - intelligent, sustainable, sensual! Climate protection: an opportunity for man, communities and the economyBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 04: Excellent research through excellent management. The importance of leadership and management in cooperative researchBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 05: Mechatronics - the silent revolutionBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 06: Tribology - different aspects of friction and wear and tearBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 07: Digital vs. real worlds - limitations of computer models?Breakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 08: From idea to innovationBreakout
09:00 - 15:30Working Group 09: Why do we need an RTI-strategy and what is the output?Breakout
09:00 - 15:00Ö1 Children's University Alpbach - Science and technology for kidsBreakout
16:30 - 17:45Genomic research and the future of cancer medicinePlenary
18:15 - 19:30The digital generationPlenary


09:30 - 10:50Concept and reality of the InternetPlenary
11:00 - 12:10Opportunities and risks of key technologiesPlenary
12:10 - 13:10James Bond and what physics has got to do with itPlenary
13:10 - 13:15Closing statementPlenary
13:15 - 14:00Snack receptionSocial