A robot named Mr. Bah can help catch elderly people about to fall

  • Mister Bah is a robot that catches people about to fall and helps them sit up and stand up.
  • In a clinical trial with 29 patients over 3 days, Mister Bah was able to prevent all falls.
  • In the United States, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults age 65 and older.

A new robot can help catch patients losing their balance before they fall to the ground, and researchers hope to start selling them within the next year.

Mister Bah — or mobile balancing robot assistant — is a motorized vehicle equipped with sensors and a harness that patients wear around their hips.

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University and Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore aim to reach elderly populations with the device, as falling is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for those over 65.

In the United States, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among people age 65 and older, according to CDC data.

Lead researcher Wei Tech Ang told Insider the device will also help keep patients active.

“A lot of these patients, when they’re afraid of falling, don’t walk, they sit all day. And because of that, they go into a downward spiral,” lead researcher Wei Tech Ang told Insider.

The machine follows elderly patients as they perform daily tasks, from sitting and standing to taking water. When Mister Bah senses a patient is about to lose their balance, the harness snaps on and prevents them from falling.

Black MRBA device with brown harness

Developed by NTU Singapore and TTSH, MRBA is a wearable assistance robot that can detect and prevent a fall before it happens, reducing the risk of injury to the user.

NTU SINGAPORE


Early clinical trials involving 29 participants in hospitals who used MRBA for three days each found the robot successfully prevented every fall. The patients included people with brain and spinal cord injuries. Ang said they have now tested the MRBA on 50 hospital patients, who he says continue to ask when they can use the device again.

Ang said he started exploring the idea of ​​an assistant robot after seeing how a loss of balance affected his elderly mother.

“The intention was for my mother,” Ang said. “My mom used to fall a lot, as you might call her. She fell about 10 years ago…that’s when I started having this idea of ​​a robot to help people not to fall at home.”

Now the team wants to trial in different settings and is seeking Mister Bah approval from regulatory bodies around the world to start selling the devices. The goal is to provide a high-tech version to hospitals and a home version for personal use, but the team needs to raise millions in funds to make this a reality, the Washington Post reported.

Ang said once the robots are available to the public, he wants to give one to the woman who inspired his invention – his mother.

“I hope she can receive the first robot when we release it,” Ang said.

Comments are closed.