Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have received a grant from Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space to develop robotic systems that will help meet the needs of senior citizens.

The BGU project, which is titled “Follow Me: Proxemics and Responsiveness for Following Tasks in Adaptive Assistive Robotics,” will use “robotic adaptive person-following” algorithms to create robots that will adjust to specific tasks, the pace and abilities of their users, and the characteristics of their environments.

“While most person-following algorithms focus on the effectiveness and efficiency of the robot, what is unique about our approach is that we focus on the effectiveness of the human-robot interaction by introducing constructs related to proximity in human-human interaction,” Dr. Tal Oron-Gilad, a researcher in BGU’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, said in a statement.

In essence, the Israeli developed robots will be able to behave similarly to how humans would interact with one another.

“Robots can assist the elderly in everyday tasks as they seek to age independently. Nevertheless, the introduction of assistive robotics into seniors’ daily life will be dependent upon user acceptance, satisfaction and affordability,” said Oron-Gilad.