Aether Robot

Aether Robot: A Collaborative Service Robot, Supporting Independence, Safety, Privacy and Happiness

Aether is a collaborative service robot, designed for staff and residents working and living in care homes to support independence, safety, privacy and happiness. This project will build on previous work accomplished by JDQ Systems Inc. and the Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA), and academic partners under previous Mitacs Accelerate and NSERC Engage programs. 

Aether has autonomous navigation ability, voice command and entertainment features. in addition to environmental inspection and monitoring for safety, it is capable of interacting with caregivers and LTC residents socially, such as telling jokes, broadcasting news, reading short stories, and using voice commands to welcome new people coming into the LTC home, using face and voice recognition. 

The aim of this study is to: 

  1. Investigate feasibility and acceptance of implementing a collaborative service robot, Aether in LTC.
  2. Engage stakeholders (people living with disabilities, families, frontline staff, operation leaders, and industry) in deployment/ adoption of the robot.
  3. Identify user experience, impact and challenges to inform future robot development and adoption. 

We are currently in phase 2 of the project

Project updates:

1. We had our first onsite visit at a group home, one of the generous sites to conduct research in, a few weeks ago. We were able to meet our other team members, residents and staff at the group home in person, and see a demonstration of Aether being deployed.

2. We conducted two pre-intervention focus groups at the group home in person where we asked staff about their feelings, ideas, concerns, and any feedback regarding the deployment of Aether.

3. We shared our research at the 2nd INterdisciplinary Conference in REhabilitation Sciences of BC (INCREASE BC) on April 17, 2024 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

4. March 15, 2024, Aether, our collaborative service robot, Aether told a joke and our resident jokes back.

5. Today, we witnessed Aether, our collaborative service robot, motivate older resident to conduct exercises through its programmed exercise function!

Our Team

Principal Investigator: Dr. Lillian Hung

Family partners: Milena and Patricia

Arisa Kinugawa (phase 1 lead):

Kate Davies (phase 2 lead):

Lily Ren Haopu (phase 3 lead):

and Karen Wong, Huini Ge, Charlotte Wang, Albin Soni, Rachel Xia and Pater Zhao. We also have from outside of the lab, Jon (project manager and CEO of JDQ Systems Inc.) and Donna Cain (DDA Assistant Director).

Questions? Please contact the appropriate phase lead!

Watch Aether play “I Spy”