Emotive robot helpers could soon be roaming care homes


6 Feb 2015

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The Care-o-bot 3. Image via ACCOMPANY

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A team of researchers has developed its first prototype of a helper robot that could assist the elderly and infirmed people, as well as show emotion and empathy.

The designers of the Care-o-bot 3 robot as part of the project called ACCOMPANY (Acceptable Robotics Companions for Ageing Years) must surely be aware of the realisation that as humans are now living longer than ever, larger populations are going to age, which may see more of us struggle to find help in our later years.

The team from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK has been working on the concept for the last three years as part of a partnership between nine institutions from across five European countries and spending nearly €5m so far in the development process, according to Phys.org.

To test how Care-o-bot would be able to deal with elderly people’s needs, the team led by Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian tested it in three different countries – the UK, France and the Netherlands – and their initial findings appear to show that the robot is quite capable in preventing loneliness, as well as offering stimulating activities.

Speaking of their findings, Amirabdollahian said, “This project proved the feasibility of having companion technology, while also highlighting different important aspects such as empathy, emotion, social intelligence, as well as ethics and its norm surrounding technology for independent living.”