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Robot Cats developed in the US for elderly

22nd January 2018

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

 

Pets have long been companions to older adults, with many programs dedicated to bringing animal acquaintances to residents in care homes as it is thought that furry friends could help stave off dementia and loneliness.

However, there are downsides to pets as dependents for older adults, and while Felix the cat may be great company, he can also be a trip hazard. This can be especially dangerous for older adults with limited mobility, who rely on stairlifts in their homes.

Instead of getting underfoot, the Robocats are expected to aid their owners in day-to-day tasks, remind them to take medicine and even retrieve glasses. The joint venture between the US toy giant Hasbro and Brown University will build upon the ‘Joy for all’ pets that Hasbro currently offer. 

 

These lifelike robotic animals currently have realistic fur and emit pet like sounds as well as responding to patting and hugs with realistic actions. However, the joint venture is looking to include a host of other helpful features, such as reminding the owner of doctors’ appointments. The project has been dubbed ARIES – Affordable Robotic Intelligence for Elderly Support and is the latest investigation into technology that can aid and improve the lives of older adults.

Bertram Malle, A professor at Brown University, told the Mirror:

“Our idea was, we can bring expertise for the artificial intelligence, for the mechanics and the human, robot-interaction side.

“They are one of the best companies to build at a very small scale and an affordable scale, something that can really be distributed to a lot of people.”

It is expected this project could take up to three years, so though it will be some time before these helpful cuddly toys are on the shelves, when they do arrive they should be able to contribute greatly to the community of older adults.