ROBOTS THAT CARE
Konica Minolta Uses Assistive Robotics For Patient Care In Italy
Ramsey, NJ – January 30, 2019 – Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. (Konica Minolta) - Following the establishment of Konica Minolta’s latest research center in Rome, the technology giant continues to invest in research and development, specifically in the field of Distributed Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) within healthcare. By embedding robots with the latest and most advanced Artificial Intelligence capabilities, these systems are learning to perceive and navigate within different types of real-world environments. Francesco Puja, Research Specialist for Distributed Robotics at Konica Minolta, explains, “Our solutions enhance robots with increased cognitive abilities. Activity and object recognition, emotion and behaviour analysis enable robots to perceive the environment, understand it and behave properly.”
The company’s commitment to developing robotics for healthcare advances with an important partnership with the IIT - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, (a research facility in Genoa, Italy) that focuses on interdisciplinary sciences, technology development and higher education in the sciences. In addition to IIT, Konica Minolta has collaborated with the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy. They share the same goal; to better develop artificial intelligence in robots to assist in both urgent and non-urgent patient care. Specifically, the team wants to study the employment of robots to assist patients, and support the work of nurses and doctors by conducting basic monitoring activities.
Trying to lessen the burden for hospital staff through robotics is what makes Konica Minolta a pioneer in the industry. The global medical robotics market is continually increasing. According to a MARKETS AND MARKETS report, this industry is estimated to be worth 6.5 billion dollars (as of 2018). However, the Robotics industry is expected to thrive during the next five years -specifically it is expected to climb to 16.7 billion dollars by 2023. Notably, the industry will see more investment around medical robots, which includes surgical robots, rehabilitation robots, non-invasive radiosurgery robots and pharmacy dispensing robots. It’s to be expected that more and more patient facilities will adopt the trend to lessen the burden of their staff and to minimize salary budgets.
“We are only at the beginning of wider research collaboration with medical institutions that in a few years could make assistive robotics a widespread asset in hospitals and nursing homes,” says Filippo Silva, R&D Strategy and Technology Manager of Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe in Rome.
The ‘Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza’ hospital is one of the major healthcare centers in Italy, with 900 beds, 206 residential elderly care beds, 2,900 employees, 60,000 yearly admissions and 9,500 surgeries per year. In partnership with Konica Minolta and IIT, the hospital is initiating the assistive robotics activities. As part of collaboration between the two research institutions, IIT has provided its ‘R1’ humanoid robot, developed to be able to assist people in different scenarios; and Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe brought its expertise in AI and Distributed Robotics. The customized Artificial Intelligence embedded within the robot is inspired by both human learning and human interaction capabilities. “In the current setup, we are starting to use the R1 robot of IIT - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, to accompany a patient during their daily routines. This experience is part of our current projects aimed at optimizing health care professionals’ time”, says Francesco Giuliani, ICT, and Innovation & Research Manager at IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital.
About Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe
Since its establishment in 1873, Konica Minolta has had a long history of innovation. In 2015, Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe established its headquarters in London, and subsequently opened R&D laboratories in Brno, Czech Republic, in Munich, Germany, and a third one in Rome, Italy. Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe is the hub where innovative solutions in the field of information and communications technology come to life to transform the next generation of platforms and services from Konica Minolta.
Konica Minolta Laboratory Europe takes advantage of the most advanced technologies to support new business opportunities that are driven by innovation and our customers’ needs, with innovative applications for digital workplace, sensors information and automation, digital healthcare and smart data systems.
In close collaboration with clinical users, in its R&D laboratories Konica Minolta is exploring how digital technologies shape the future of healthcare. Beyond assistive robotics, Konica Minolta conducts research into applications of its semantic technologies to medical documents. In the field of precision medicine, the dedicated lab in Munich develops advanced image and data analytics solutions.
About Ospedale Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza
Known all over the world as the Hospital of Saint Padre Pio, the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Research Hospital hosts nearly all medical specialties providing cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment options thanks to its highly qualified professionals and medical equipment. It has been recognized since 1991 by the Ministry of Health as a Research Hospital for the subject “genetic diseases, innovative therapies and regenerative medicine”, carrying out scientific and clinical activities in collaboration with the most important Italian and international research centers. It has nearly 900 hospital beds, 206 residential elderly care beds, 2.900 employees, 60,000 yearly admissions and 9,500 surgeries per year. Its researchers publish nearly 200 scientific articles each year on the most acknowledged scientific journals (e.g. Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Genetics). It is the clinical partner in two consortia for EU H2020 funded projects in the field of assistive robotics, namely MARIO (Managing active and healthy aging with use of caring service robots) and ACCRA (Agile Co-Creation of Robots for Ageing). The EU included the MARIO project in the “Top 25 most influential ICT for Active and Healthy Ageing projects” and one of its main results is included in the EU Innovation Radar. A new research center ISBReMIT (Institute for Stem-Cell Biology, Regenerative Medicine and Innovative Therapies) has been inaugurated in 2015 to produce cell therapies, gene therapies and prostheses made of biomaterials.
About Konica Minolta
Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. is reshaping and revolutionizing the Workplace of the Future™ with its expansive smart office product portfolio from IT Services (All Covered), ECM, Managed Print Services and industrial and commercial print solutions. Konica Minolta has been recognized as the #1 Brand for Customer Loyalty in the MFP Office Copier Market by Brand Keys for 11 consecutive years, and is proud to be ranked on the Forbes 2017 America's Best Employers list. The World Technology Awards recently named the company a finalist in the IT Software category. Konica Minolta, Inc. has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for six consecutive years. It partners with its clients to give shape to ideas and work to bring value to our society. For more information, please visit: www.CountOnKonicaMinolta.com and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
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