On Monday, I wrote about exoskeleton robots that can help people with spinal cord injuries (or neuro-muscular diseases like multiple sclerosis) walk.
Today’s topic is companion robots – a topic that has fascinated me over the last few years.
An early player was Japan’s Robear – a nursing robot with a teddy bear face that could assist in tasks such as lifting patients from the bed or assisting patients to stand.
A little more advanced (and looking just a bit like Rosie the robot maid from the Jetsons) is Moins’ Care-o-bot 4.
Developed as a robotic assistant for the elderly, the robot can be configured to help with a variety of chores – from delivering food, drinks, and medications to its user or assisting with cooking and cleaning. As basically an Alexa on wheels, it can place emergency calls, deliver reminders, host video conferences and engage in conversations with Grandma.
Social robots are an interesting solution to the growing epidemic of loneliness. However – are they best used to supplement the efforts of human caregivers or could they replace human contact all together? I’ll leave you all to ponder that.
Stay safe and curious, friends!