USF lab takes first steps towards robotic caretakers

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A USF researcher believes he will be able to build a robot that can care for elderly people in their homes within five to 10 years.

Tyagi Ramakrishnan, who is working on his doctorate in mechanical engineering, is adapting artificial limbs to be parts for his robot.

"It should be able to do anything a human can," he explained.

Ramakrishnan says it will be able to take our vital signs, dispense medicine, even cook and clean – tasks now performed by nurses at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"My goal is to bring these machines in for $200,000, so that saves tons of money and everyone has the assistance they need to live at home comfortably," he continued,

Right now the robot is just a skeleton from the hips down. They're using a simulator to test its balance and stability.

"To be able to do what he's accomplished in a very short time instills hope in me that future generations will be able to do some extraordinary things," offered Dr. Michael Fountain, head of the USF Center for Entrepreneurship. 

Ramakrishnan says he's pursuing grants and additional funding for his research.