When the Vacuum Cleaning Robot Calls for Help

When the Vacuum Cleaning Robot Calls for Help

These are everyday situations in which things can suddenly happen very quickly. For example, a sudden fall on a carpeted edge can often result in injury, especially in older people. “We don’t want people to be in very uncomfortable positions for hours or days, on the ground or maybe get injured. Instead, help should be available very quickly,” explains Florian Zahorka, research associate at St. Polten’s University of Applied Sciences . He also volunteers in the rescue service.

According to statistics, one third of all people over the age of 65 fall on average once a year. The older you are, the higher your risk of falling. Although there are systems such as the home emergency call, that is, a bracelet with a button that you can press in case of an emergency, there are also constraints. Some people do not want such an arrangement, while others do not wear the bracelet properly in case of a sudden fall.


The vacuum robot can accept voice commands and thus notify emergency services or relatives. If the person concerned does not report after a fall, for example because they are unconscious, the robot automatically sounds an alarm.

Advanced Vacuum Cleaning Robot With Voice Assistant

That’s where they wanted to start, explains Andreas Jackal, a lecturer at St. Polten’s University of Applied Sciences: “We thought about what is already used in everyday life, but at the same time there are a lot of sensors with which we Can and do. That’s how we came up with the idea of ​​connecting a robotic vacuum cleaner to speech so that the risk of falling or falling can be detected.”

Florian Zahorka and Andreas Jackal then upgraded the standard vacuum cleaner robot and equipped it with the language assistant Alexa to make it a so-called smart companion. It can recognize a person lying on the ground and use the voice output to ask if help is needed. If the person does not answer, the rescue team is alerted.

In Focus: Vacuum Robot With Help Function

A new device is currently being researched at the University of Applied Sciences in St. Poulten to enable single people to react more quickly when they fall. For this purpose, a vacuum cleaning robot was upgraded to the so-called Smart Companion.

But there are also cases in which an elderly person simply needs help without an emergency. Zahorka explains that here’s what they wanted to create a low-limit offering: “The existing systems are installed and working. We’re looking at adding or enhancing this system. The idea is that emergency services don’t come right away, But relatives, for example, are informed.”

Robotic Vacuum Cleaner Voice Function Help Function Fall Pensioner Florian Zahorka Andreas Jackli


Andreas Jackal and Florian Zahorka (from left) developed the idea for a vacuum cleaner robot that asks for help and wants to take the project even further in the years to come.

Robots can recognize people with cameras

Last but not least, vacuum cleaning robots have become a lot more intelligent in recent years. Some of them can now separate people from objects. “The latest robots have cameras. This means they can detect cables or shoes lying around so they are no longer tangled,” says Jackal. “So all of this can be used to just go around a cable. Why do it when you can do so much more than that?”

The research project will last for the next three years. Until then, it wants to work on, among other things, how vacuum cleaning robots should communicate so that artificial intelligence doesn’t fail in an emergency. Plus, they want to test the vacuum cleaning robot on a large scale so that it can soon become a life saver in your own four walls.

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