Real Time Communications Featured Article

WebRTC Meets Robotics for Home Health Care

March 02, 2015

Many people think of WebRTC as a technology that is ancillary to other software platforms, either to contact customer service or for collaboration purposes but generally as a “handmaiden” to another technology. We’ve seen WebRTC go beyond VoIP and video conferencing, with no plug-ins to download or install that may not be compatible with consumers’ browsers across desktop, mobile or tablet.

But what if the whole purpose was to contact others if you had limited capabilities or was handicapped in some way?

Origin Robotics is taking the power of WebRTC and marrying it with robotics for a solution that is quite unlike others when it comes to home healthcare. The Origibot, as its known, looks like many of the other robotics offerings that we have seen in the marketplace recently, in that it appeals to remote professionals, but this robot has a tablet mount and an arm that can manipulate objects in the environment. It is designed primarily to help the elderly and disabled in their own home.

Image via Shutterstock.

WebRTC's open source media engine library is being adopted by many traditional VoIP companies because of its quality and free community support (partly due to Google's investment). Use of this engine helps to minimize development costs and prevent lower-level interoperability issues, and now it’s going beyond telecommunications and into the homes of those who can use its help.

The WebRTC part of Origibot allows the robot to act as a portal to communicate to caregivers who might not be at home, or even a healthcare professional.  Even a call to first responders might be made through this sort of device, with the right configuration.  Currently, the designers are focused on local network communication, but it would be an easy step to make IP communications through the tablet, especially with preset numbers and contacts for emergencies and the severely disabled.

One of the most exciting things about this offering is that it is highly affordable; we have seen many robotics for consumers that are either high priced or novelty items, and this is neither. With an eye towards WebRTC, this could be developed so that it acted as more of a caregiver and a portal to the outside world.

Considered to be a truly innovative technology, home health opportunities that did not exist are suddenly becoming a reality because of WebRTC.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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