Would you be happy with a robot for company?
Engineers from Trinity College, Dublin, have unveiled a robot this week they say will help alleviate loneliness amongst the elderly.
‘Stevie 11’ uses advanced sensing technologies, including laser rangefinders, depth cameras and vision sensors to interact intelligently with humans and its surrounding environment. Stevie has face and voice recognition, which means he can address those he is speaking to directly, and understand and reply to commands.
Following consultation with experts including nurses and caregivers along with older adults living at home and in care homes, the team from Trinity found that Stevie could also provide a much needed social service as well as performing menial assistive tasks.
Niamh Donnelly, who specialises in the artificial intelligence behind Stevie, says a more humanised side of robotics is the most requested feature.
She said: “When we brought Stevie around people rather than them expecting him to pick something up for them, they really just wanted to interact with Stevie, have a conversation with him or get some information from him. That turned our focus towards the more social aspect of it”.
The team are planning several more pilots of the technology and are hoping to trial it as part of the European-funded EPIC project at a care home in Cornwall in the coming months.
Would you be happy speaking to a ‘robot’? Or do you think that humanising a robot is taking things too far? Would you be willing to have one in your home?
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