It’s not likely that a robot will ever replace the loving touch of a family member, but they may be of service in ways that were once likely unheard of including caring for the elderly. These robots could prove useful in helping the elderly stay home even when physical or cognitive abilities indicate they should be living in a care facility.
These robots are quite fascinating. They are part of “smart house” technology in which sensors are placed around the home to provide feedback about the movements of the senior citizen. These sensors can also track health, or whether the senior is up and active. These sensors monitor and collect data which indicates whether the individual is active, eating healthy foods, cooking, forgetting to turn off appliances or perhaps not closing doors or windows fully.
The robots also allow virtual visits by healthcare professionals, family and friends by showing the visitor on a screen on the body of the robot. The family member can “dial into” the robot and have a conversation with their loved one. The ability to “virtually visit” is helpful if a caregiver who doesn’t live on site receives a notification that their aging loved one has gotten out of bed, or perhaps taken a spill or turned on an appliance and not turned it back off. Through the robot technology, family members can be with their loved ones virtually and that provides peace of mind for all involved.
Developers don’t believe the robots will be a substitute for human interaction and contact, but rather an enhancement and a way to allow the aged to live in their own homes for longer periods of time.