4.7 million euros in funding and 14 positions planned for the TUM Geriatronics campus

Robotics and artificial intelligence in care of the elderly

Prof. Sami Haddadin (left) shows a model of the future TUM Campus Geriatronics t
Prof. Sami Haddadin (left) shows a model of the future TUM Campus Geriatronics to the first mayor of the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen Elisabeth Koch and the Bavarian State Minister for Science and the Arts Markus Blume.

Good news for the TUM Geriatronics campus in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Robo.Care AI mission: the Bavarian cabinet’s 2023 draft budget includes 4.74 million euros in funding for research on robotics and AI applications in the care of the elderly. This was announced by Bavarian science minister Markus Blume on a visit to the campus, which he praised as a "model project for Germany and the world". The new campus is a project under the auspices of the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence ( MIRMI ) of TUM.

In 2023 the state of Bavaria will provide funding to establish the TUM Geriatronics Campus and launch the Robo.Care AI mission. In the 2023 draft budget alone, funds are set aside for two professorships, 12 research and technology transfer positions as well as 4.74 million euros for material costs. The new campus will also offer a new masters program for geriatronics. The overall project will include a special research zone for geriatronics and healthcare robotics as well as the Robo.Care AI Mission, dedicated to advances in the use of AI in nursing care.

Big plans for collaboration encompassing care, education and research

With partners from the nursing care and healthcare fields, TUM is building a collaborative campus where care, education and research are combined to develop AI/robotics technologies and create applications ready for everyday use. It will include a 25,000 square meter care center operated by the Caritas charity that will house a social services station, assisted living facilities and a broad range of nursing care services. The adjacent educational center will utilize technical developments in robotics and AI and provide training for nursing care specialists. The TUM Geriatronics Innovation Space will incubate startups to convert technological developments into products suitable for the real world.

MIRMI on the way to global leadership in geriatronics research

Science minister Blume: "A world class university surrounded by Alpine peaks: The Geriatronics Campus is on the way and Garmisch-Partenkirchen will now be a university town! With 14 new positions and around 4.7 million euros in funding for materials and equipment in the 2023 draft budget alone, Bavaria is launching a model project for Germany and the world. High-tech solutions in the interests of better quality of life - by bringing together geriatrics and robotics. Here, high-tech research is at the service of patients - an exemplary case of technology serving people, with a unique combination of teaching, research and real-world AI applications. We want to bring elite robotics researchers to Garmisch-Partenkirchen."

MIRMI director Prof. Sami Haddadin announced: "In Garmisch-Partenkirchen we will establish a unique experimental field for leading-edge research and development in robotics for nursing care and health care. In doing so, we aim to set new international standards. With this unique TUM campus we will strengthen and raise the international profile of research and education in the field of geriatronics and healthcare robotics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen while taking action to secure and enhance the future of the region. Only through innovative and integrated approaches like these can we develop sustainable solutions for autonomous living in old age."

TUM Campus for Geriatronics: Focus on three research areas

The campus will focus primarily on three research areas:

Assistance systems must facilitate natural interactions where technology blends into the background. Service humanoids will support people in the household or help them to communicate and perform nursing care tasks. For these purposes, the robots will have to be trained through machine learning to perform their autonomous functions. The sensory systems for robot assistants also require further refinement. Another important priority is the development of remote control robots for nursing care support roles.

  • Preventive healthcare, medical treatment and nursing care in an interdisciplinary context
  • To develop geriatronics in line with requirements, interdisciplinary research is needed to ensure targeted support for the factors relevant to healthy ageing and the third stage of life. It is also necessary to evaluate assistance systems in medical and nursing care contexts and from psychological and sociological standpoints.

    In a geriatronics reference center, research will take place into the practical deployment of robotic assistance systems and related issues pertaining to technical, legal and ethical standards. A focal point will be the coexistence of people and machines, the adaptation of living spaces and infrastructure, taking into account users’ needs.

    Mission KI.Robo.Care

    To achieve these changes, AI and robotics need to work together. "Only through collaboration will it be possible to address the nursing care crisis and provide the growing group of the elderly in our society with greater autonomy and security," says MIRMI director Haddadin, explaining his inspiration in launching the KI.Robo.Care mission. The goal: to develop robotic assistants for the demographic transformation, to make them suitable for everyday use and thus to provide old people with robot-supported care.

    To provide a sustainable foundation to push ahead with this research in the coming years, the campus will have eight professorships working on such topics as human-robot interactions, intelligent telerobotics, robotic assistance in healthcare and eldercare as well as nursing sciences and geriatronics. In addition, a new masters program in geriatronics is scheduled to begin in the 2027/28 winter semester. The first geriatronics modules will be available to masters students before that date.