Oregon State University is part of $ 20 million effort to develop AI to help seniors live at home

CORVALLIS, Oregon – A team of researchers including Kagan Tumer of Oregon State University, director of the Institute of Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems, received a five-year, $ 20 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build smart systems that help people age.

The grant is led by Sonia Chernova of Georgia Tech and will fund the creation of the NSF AI Institute for Collaborative Assistance and Responsive Interaction for Networked Groups, or AI-CARING.

The institute aims to develop artificial intelligence systems that work with older people, including those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and their caregivers.

Most older people prefer to stay at home, the researchers note. But safety concerns such as remembering to turn off the stove, medication schedules, and isolation can make it difficult for them to do so.

“A smart system could, for example, detect when the stove is left on and send a reminder to turn it off,” Tumer said. “And if the stove was not turned off, the system could send an alert to a family member or caregiver. “

Such a system could also be extended to support a full appointment schedule, medication reminders and schedules for multiple caregivers.

This type of custom AI presents multiple technical challenges, said Tumer, professor of mechanical, industrial, and manufacturing engineering at OSU College of Engineering. AI often focuses on the choices or actions of a single entity – a chess player, for example, or medical diagnostic software – for a predefined amount of time or activity. But in the case of an elderly client, AI systems must interact with multiple people on the care team for months, if not years, and adapt to changing conditions and goals.

“To help someone you have to understand their relationships, preferred modes of interaction and values,” said Tumer, who adds that “the goal is not to replace human guardians but to help them create support networks capable of handling routine tasks and allowing healthcare professionals to focus on critical care.

The price is based on years of work at Oregon State University on coordinating intelligent systems, the human-AI team, and AI systems that balance multiple goals – for example, efficiency, security, privacy, and values.

In addition to OSU and Georgia Tech, AI-CARING will include professors from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and Oregon Health & Science University. Amazon and Google are industry sponsors. Principal investigators will connect with other higher education institutions, nonprofits, and government entities across the country to provide education and workforce opportunities to diverse groups.

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of new NSF National AI Research Institutes as we seek to expand into all 50 states,” said National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “These institutes are hubs for academia, industry and government to accelerate discovery and innovation in AI. They lead to new capabilities that improve our lives, from medicine and entertainment to transportation and cybersecurity, while growing the economy and maintaining global competitiveness.

In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Science and Technology Branch of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Highway Administration of the United States Department of Transportation United, the NSF funds 11 centers within its national AI research institutes. program.

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