You're old, weak and your bastard kids want to put you in a home. The uBOT-5 could one day offer a solution that could help you maintain your independence without having to resort to depressing nursing homes or lame Life Alert badges. Thanks to researchers at the University of Massachusetts, their uBOT-5 robot is capable of picking up small objects, dialing 911 and even using a stethoscope to check vitals.
It could also be used to remind patients to take meds, pick up packages or other important errands. Plus, an integrated web cam, microphone, touch-sensitive LCD screen and Internet connection make it possible for doctors to conduct virtual house calls or for family members to interact with the patient from a distance (you can even play dress up with it!). Currently it costs about US$65,000 to produce a uBOT, but manufacturers have stated that it may only cost a few thousand to mass produce—and chances are that even those costs could be picked up by insurance companies. [LiveScience via Digg]