SOURCE: GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.

June 10, 2010 00:05 ET

GeckoSystems' Elder Care Robot Trials' Caregiver Praises New GeckoScheduler™

CONYERS, GA--(Marketwire - June 10, 2010) -  GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GCKO) (http://www.geckosystems.com/) announced today that they have improved ease of use of their personal assistant robot, the CareBot™ as a result of their ongoing world's first in home elder care robot evaluation trials. The new GeckoScheduler™ enables the primary caregiver to more easily set the date, time and frequency of medication reminders, TV show reminders, repetition of family anecdotes, etc.

GeckoSystems is a dynamic leader in the emerging Mobile Service Robot industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security, and Service™.

"My widower mother was ninety-four last April. She had detached retina surgery some years ago and as an unfortunate side effect, her short-term memory has degraded to only two to three minutes. So while she has many of the Alzheimer victim issues, her short-term memory has not continued to degrade as dramatically as is common with many Alzheimer victims. However, due to this short-term memory loss she has lived with my husband and me for over eight years because of her consequent frequent disorientation and bewilderment.

"The new improvements made with GeckoScheduler have been very helpful. The user interface enhancements make it much easier for me to program timed reminders for the CareBot to say to my mother. This new interface has streamlined the way I am able to schedule reminders. It is now much easier to program the CareBot to tell my mother important things for her throughout the day. With this upgraded computer software I am now putting some of her favorite Bible verses in for the CareBot to recite to her. 

"I am very pleased with the updated GeckoScheduler. Before I was only able to put reminders in for the current day, but now I am able to put reminders in for days in advance. Also, I can look back at previous reminders in case I forgot what worked well in the past. These changes decrease the time I spend at the computer inputting information for the CareBot to use in helping me take care of my elderly mother.

"The repetitive reminders in GeckoScheduler are wonderful! My mother's short-term memory is worse these days. Every day she asks the same questions over and over such as 'Is anyone coming over today?' and 'Are we going anywhere today?' I now have the CareBot tell her every hour the answer to those questions. Also, the scheduled reminders are of great benefit to tell her when it is time to take her medications. I believe that any basic personal assistant robot must have the ability to schedule reminders in order for it to be of any significant benefit," said one of the elder care robot trial caregivers.

GeckoSystems is protecting the privacy of its elder care robot trials' participants with a sincere commitment to maintain their identities confidential.

"We are learning that valued family behaviors can be readily expressed to the care receiver using a CareBot due to the robustness of its functionality. Here, primarily GeckoChat™ and GeckoScheduler™ are utilized.

"We continue to look forward to further exploration and understanding of the social interaction between the family, CareBot, and care receiver in the coming weeks and months of these in home assistive care robot trials. With our in home personal assistant robot trials progressing nicely, we have already learned a great deal as to the reality of beneficial social interaction between human and robot in domestic settings. There seems to be a very important positive -- and unforeseen by some parties -- impact of valued family behaviors for all members in using a CareBot to communicate their thoughts and feelings to their beloved family members," commented Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.

The elderly frequently endure loneliness and/or loss of independence when living in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. This new type of remote medical monitoring system, a CareBot, will postpone, if not eliminate that trauma to them. Their families can now better manage the difficult decisions regarding the independence they allow their now dependent parent while minimizing the risk the adult care giver is willing to assume for a prudent level of independence for their now reliant parent.

Some believe that the technology is approved and paid for through options such as the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, which broadens the definition, use, and funding of technology at home. Other sources include long-term care insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, Medicaid waivers, and (potentially) stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, under the provisions for health information technology and electronic medical records for acute care.

Like an automobile, mobile robots are made from steel, aluminum, plastic, and electronics, but with ten to twenty times the amount of software running. The CareBot has an aluminum frame, plastic shroud, two independently driven wheels, multiple sensor systems, microprocessors and several onboard computers connected in a local area network (LAN). The microprocessors directly interact with the sensor systems and transmit data to the onboard computers. The onboard computers each run independent, highly specialized cooperative/subsumptive artificial intelligence software programs, GeckoSavants™, which interact to complete tasks in a timely, intelligent and common sense manner.

GeckoSuper™, GeckoNav™, GeckoChat™, GeckoScheduler™ and GeckoTrak™ are primary GeckoSavants. The GeckoSuper is the GeckoSavant responsible for system-wide orchestrated "common sense." For example, given two or more inputs, GeckoSuper can determine the order in which these inputs need to be addressed. GeckoNav is the AI software guidance system for the CareBot that provides automatic self-navigation without human intervention. GeckoNav is responsible for all fully autonomous maneuvering, such as avoiding dynamic and/or static obstacles, running errands and patrolling. GeckoChat is responsible for interaction with the care-receiver such as answering questions, assisting with daily routines and reminders, and responding to other verbal commands. GeckoTrak is the AI software system using sensor fusion that delivers a goal to GeckoNav by way of the GeckoSuper to seek.

"GeckoScheduler completes the suite of our fundamental GeckoSavants™ with the dissimilar yet synergistic, functional benefits needed to cost effectively provide utility to families for remote care taking of their members and other loved ones. This type of beneficial artificial intelligence (AI) makes the CareBot more personal and uniquely customized for the particular person to be assisted. Not only does this capability enable new forms of social interaction and community for families -- even when dispersed geographically, it will also increase ROI for our investors as we address this pent up demand," concluded Spencer.

About GeckoSystems International Corporation:

Since 1997, GeckoSystems has developed a comprehensive, coherent, and sufficient suite of hardware and software inventions to enable a new type of home appliance (a personal robot) the CareBot™, to be created for the mass consumer marketplace. The suite of primary inventions includes: GeckoNav™, GeckoChat™ and GeckoTrak™.

The primary market for this product is the family for use in eldercare, care for the chronically ill, and childcare. The primary distribution channel for this new home appliance is the thousands of independent personal computer retailers in the U.S. The manufacturing infrastructure for this new product category of mobile service robots is essentially the same as the personal computer industry. Several outside contract manufacturers have been identified and qualified their ability to produce up to 1,000 CareBots per month within four to six months.

The Company is market driven. At the time of founding, over twelve years ago, the Company did extensive primary market research to determine the demographic profile of the early adopters of the then proposed product line. Subsequent to, and based on that original market research, they have assembled numerous focus groups to evaluate the fit of the CareBot personal robot into the participant's lives and their expected usage. The Company has also frequently employed the Delphi market research methodology by contacting and interviewing senior executives, practitioners, and researchers knowledgeable in the area of elder care. Using this factual basis of internally performed primary and secondary market research, and third party research is the statistical substance for the Company's sales forecasts.

Not surprisingly the scientific statistical analyses applied revealed that elderly over sixty-five living alone in metropolitan areas with broadband Internet available and sufficient household incomes to support the increased costs were identified as those most likely to adopt initially. Due to the high cost of assisted living, nursing homes, etc. the payback for a CareBot™ is expected to be only six to eight months while keeping elderly care receivers independent, in their own long time homes, and living longer due to the comfort and safety of more frequent attention from their loved ones.

"We project the available market size in dollars for cost effective, utilitarian, multitasking eldercare personal robots in 2011 to be $74.0B, in 2012 to be $77B, in 2013 to be $80B, in 2014 to be $83.3B, and in 2015 to be $86.6B. With market penetrations of 0.03% in 2011, 0.06% in 2012, 0.22% in 2013, 0.53% in 2014, and 0.81% in 2015, we will anticipate CareBot sales, from this consumer market segment, only, of $22.0M, $44.0M, $176M, $440.2M, and $704.3M, respectively. We expect these sales despite -- and perhaps because of -- the present recession due to pent up demand for significant cost reduction in eldercare expenses," opined Spencer.

The foregoing forecasts do not include sales in non-metropolitan areas; elderly couples over 65 (only elderly living alone are in these forecasts); those chronically ill -- regardless of age -- or elderly living with their adult children.

The Company's "mobile robot solutions for safety, security and service™" are appropriate not only for the consumer, but also professional healthcare, commercial security and defense markets. Professional healthcare require cost effective, timely errand running, portable telemedicine, etc. Homeland Security requires cost effective mobile robots to patrol and monitor public venues for weapons and WMD detection. Military users desire the elimination of the "man in the loop" to enable unmanned ground and air vehicles to not require constant human control and/or intervention.

The Company's business model is very much like that of an automobile manufacturer. Due to the final assembly, test, and shipping being done based on geographic and logistic realities; strategic business-to-business relationships can range from private labeling to joint manufacturing and distribution to licensing only.

Several dozen patent opportunities exist for the Company due to the many innovative and cost effective breakthroughs embodied not only in GeckoNav, GeckoChat, and GeckoTrak, but also in additional, secondary systems that include: GeckoOrient™, GeckoMotorController™, the GeckoTactileShroud™, the CompoundedSensorArray™, and the GeckoSPIO™.

The present senior management at GeckoSystems has over thirty-five years experience in consumer electronics sales and marketing and product development. Senior managers have been identified for the areas of manufacturing, marketing, sales, and finance.

While GeckoSystems has been in the Development Stage, the Company has accumulated losses to date in excess of six million dollars. In contrast, the Japanese government has spent one hundred million dollars in grants (to Sanyo, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC, etc.) over the same time period to develop personal robots for their eldercare crisis, yet no viable solutions have been developed.

GeckoSystems is the first mobile robot developer in the world to begin actual in-home eldercare evaluation trials.

What Does a CareBot Do for the Care Giver?

The short answer is that it decreases the difficulty and stress for the caregiver that needs to watch over Grandma, Mom, or other family members most, if not much, of the time day in and day out due to concerns about their well being, safety, and security. 

But, first let's look at some other labor saving, automatic home appliances most of us use routinely. For example, needing to do two or more necessary chores and/or activities at the same time, like laundering clothes and preparing supper. 

The automatic washing machine needs no human intervention after the dirty clothes are placed in the washer, the laundry powder poured in, and the desired wash cycle set. Then, this labor saving appliance runs automatically until the washed clothes are ready to be placed in another labor saving home appliance, the automatic clothes dryer. While the clothes are being washed and/or dried, the caregiver prepares supper using several time saving home appliances like the microwave oven, "crock" pot, blender, and conventional stove, with possible convection oven capabilities. 

After supper, the dirty pots, pans, and dishes are placed in the automatic dishwasher to be washed and dried while the family retires to the den to watch TV, and/or the kids to do homework. Later, perhaps after the kids have gone to bed, the caregiver may then have the time to fold, sort, and put up the now freshly laundered clothes.

So what does a CareBot do for the caregiver? It is a new type of labor saving, time management automatic home appliance.

For example, the care giver frequently feels time stress when they need to go shopping for 2 or 3 hours, and are uncomfortable when they have to be away for more than an hour or so. Time stress is much worse for the caregiver with a frail elderly parent that must be reminded to take medications at certain times of the day. How can the caregiver be away for 3-4 hours when Grandma must take her prescribed medication every 2 or 3 hours? If the caregiver is trapped in traffic for an hour or two beyond the 2 or 3 they expected to be gone, this "time stress" can be very difficult for the caregiver to moderate.

Not infrequently, the primary caregiver has a 24 hour, 7 days a week responsibility. After weeks and weeks of this sometimes tedious, if not onerous routine, how does the caregiver get a "day off?" To bring in an outsider is expensive (easily $75-125 per day for just 8 hours) and there is the concern that medication will be missed or the care receiver have an accident requiring immediate assistance by the caregiver, or someone they must designate. And the care receiver may be very resistant to a "stranger" coming in to her home and "running things."

So what is it worth for a care receiver to have an automatic system to help take care of Grandma? Just 3 or 4 days a month "off" on a daylong shopping trip, a visit with friends, or just take in a movie would cost $225-500 per month. And that scenario assumes that Grandma is willing to be taken care of by a "stranger" during those needed and appropriate days off.

So perhaps, an automatic caregiver, a CareBot, might be pretty handy, and potentially very cost effective from the primary caregiver's perspective.

What Does a CareBot Do for the Care Receiver?

It's a new kind of companion that always stays close to them enabling family and friends to care for them from afar. It tells them jokes, retells family anecdotes, reminds them to take medication, reminds them that family is coming over soon (or not at all), recites Bible verses, plays favorite songs and/or other music. It alerts them when unexpected visitors, or intruders are present. It notifies designated caregivers when a potentially harmful event has occurred, such as a fall, fire in the home, or simply been not found by the CareBot for too long. It responds to calls for help and notifies those that the caregiver determined should be immediately notified when any predetermined adverse event occurs.

The family can customize the personality of the CareBot. The voice's cadence can be fast or slow. The intonation can be breathy, or abrupt. The voice's volume can range from very loud to very soft. The response phrases from the CareBot for recognized words and phrases can be colloquial and/or unique to the family's own heritage. The personality can range from brassy to timid depending on how the care giver, and others appropriate, chooses it to be.

Generally, the care receiver is pleased at the prospect of family being able to drop in for a "virtual visit" using the onboard webcam and video monitor for at home "video conferencing." The care receiver may feel much more needed and appreciated when their far flung family and friends can "look in" on them any where in the world where they can get broadband internet access and simply chat for a bit.

Why is Grandma really interested in a CareBot? She wants to stay in her home, or her family's home, as long as she possibly can. What's that worth? Priceless. Or, an average nursing home is $5,000 per month for an environment that is too often the beginning of a spiral downward in the care receiver's health. That's probably $2-3K more per month for them to be placed where they really don't want to be. Financial payback on a CareBot? Less than a year -- Emotional payback for the family to have this new automatic care giver? Nearly instantaneous --

Safe Harbor:
Statements regarding financial matters in this press release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company intends that such statements about the Company's future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, technology efficacy and all other forward-looking statements be subject to the Safe Harbors created thereby. The Company is a development stage firm that continues to be dependent upon outside capital to sustain its existence. Since these statements (future operational results and sales) involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, the Company's actual results may differ materially from expected results.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    GeckoSystems Intl. Corp.
    www.GeckoSystems.com
    or
    Main number: 1-866-227-3268
    International: +1 678-413-9236