Robot technology for future welfare: meeting upcoming societal challenges – an outlook with offset in the development in Scandinavia


In many countries, a demographic change has been recognized and is subject to public discussions, either directly or indirectly by social systems being challenged with the growing demands. However, with the increase of life expectancy, also the type of needs change due to an increase of co-morbidity and multi-chronic conditions asking for an increased focus on the patient as a whole rather than the individual diseases. Recent technological advances provide new opportunities for technical solutions that interact with end users and the utilization of robots is considered one potential mean for addressing this challenge. This article outlines the changes in the demands, with particular examples taken from the Danish health care system as an example, together with the technological achievements within the robotics domain. We identify where technologies that to a large degree are existing already today can be utilized to support the social systems in the near future. We show that several of the challenges related to the demographic change can be addressed with technology that is already available and that for some cases have reached the mass market already. We also outline the to be expected opportunities and challenges in the development of future robots in the health-care domain.

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The authors have received financial support by the European Fund for Regional Development through the Interreg5 programme and Growth Forum South (Syddansk Vækstforum).

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Correspondence to Leon Bodenhagen.

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Bodenhagen, L., Suvei, SD., Juel, W.K. et al. Robot technology for future welfare: meeting upcoming societal challenges – an outlook with offset in the development in Scandinavia. Health Technol. 9, 197–218 (2019).

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  • Healthcare technology
  • Robotics
  • Welfare robotics
  • Demographic change