A robot named Mr. Bah can sense when the elderly are about to lose their balance — and catch them before they fall
Mister Bah is a robot that catches people who are about to fall over and helps people sit and stand.
In a clinical trial with 29 patients over 3 days, Mister Bah was able to prevent all falls.
In the US, falling is the leading cause of injury-related death among adults aged 65 and older.
A new robot can help catch patients who lose their balance before they fall to the ground and researchers hope to begin selling them within the next year.
Mister Bah — or mobile robot balance assistant — is a motorized vehicle equipped with sensors and a harness that patients wear around their hips.
Researchers at Nanyang Technological University and Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore are aiming to reach elderly populations with the device, as falling is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for those over 65.
In the US, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among those 65 and older, according to data from the CDC.
Lead researcher Wei Tech Ang told Insider the device would also help keep patients active.
"A lot of these patients, when they are fearful of falling down, they don't walk they just sit down all day. And because of that, they go to a downward spiral," lead researcher Wei Tech Ang told Insider.
The machine follows elderly patients while they're doing everyday tasks from sitting and standing up to grabbing water. When Mister Bah senses a patient is about to lose balance, the harness equips itself and prevents them from falling.
Initial clinical trials involving 29 participants at hospitals who used MRBA for three days each found the robot successfully prevented every fall. The patients included people with brain and spinal cord injuries. Ang said they have now tested MRBA on 50 hospital patients, who he says keep asking when they can use the device again.
Ang said he began looking into the idea of a robot assistant after seeing how a loss of balance affected his elderly mother.
"The intent was for my mother," Ang said. "My mother was a frequent faller, as they may call it. She fell about 10 years ago...that's a point when I started to have this idea of a robot to assist so that people don't fall at home."
Now, the team wants to do trials in different settings and seeks to get Mister Bah approved by regulatory bodies across the world to start selling the devices. The goal is to provide a high-tech version to hospitals and an at-home version for personal use, but the team must raise millions in funds to make this a reality, the Washington Post reported.
Ang said once the robots become available to the public, he wants to give one to the woman who inspired its invention — his mother.
"I will hope that she can receive the first robot when we commercialize it," Ang said.
Some of the walls of Mohenjo-Daro have been destroyed as a result of Pakistan's historic flooding.
The Cultural, Tourism, Antiquities, and Archives Department of the Sindh province estimated that repairs would cost $45 million.
The site is also being used to shelter Pakistanis whose homes have been affected by flooding.
A preserved ancient city in Pakistan has witnessed "mass destruction" as a result of the country's historic rains and could cost millions of dollars to repair.
Ahsan Abbasi, a curator at Mohenjo Daro, told the Associated Press the outer walls of the city had been damaged by the rains.
The Mohenjo Daro's "Buddhist stupa" — a religious burial ground — survived the rains, however. Repairs to preserve the World Heritage site are now underway, Abbasi told the AP.
Mohenjo Daro — or Mound of the Dead in Sindhi —is an ancient civilization in the heart of Pakistan that cropped up on the Indus river 4,500 years ago. The ruins of the city are now a UNESCO world heritage site.
Mojenjo Daro was discovered in the 1920s after mysteriously disappearing 4,000 years ago, according to National Geographic. Remnants of the city include bronze statues, pottery and a pool called the Great Bath.
The immaculately planned city, with endless rows of baked brick walls, was considered the "first great urban center" of the Indus Valley civilization and had complex drainage systems to address ancient floods, according to UNESCO.
The Indus Valley civilization is one of the world's earliest civilizations, lasting between 2500 and 1700 BCE, and consisted of over 100 towns and villages along the Indus river in modern-day Pakistan.
A letter sent to UNESCO by the Cultural, Tourism, Antiquities, and Archives Department of the Sindh province said the Indus Valley civilization site had seen "mass destruction" and requested $45 million for repairs, according to CNN.
During UN Secretary General António Guterres' visit to the country on Friday, UNESCO responded with $350,000 in funds to help rebuild the site, as well as other destroyed sites across the country. The money will help to address crucial repairs while UNESCO continues to assess the situation, CNN reported.
The letter also said that various parts of the site and the museum were given to people to take refuge during the monsoon.
Over the last two months, Pakistan has endured heavy monsoon rains and glacier melts that have submerged one-third of the country and impacted 33 million Pakistanis. Over 1,100 people have died so far.
The Sindh province, where Mohenjo Daro is located, has been one of the worst hit by the flooding due to its location near the overflowing Lake Manchar.