The elderly could soon have a non-human companion to beat loneliness and isolation as researchers have developed prototype of a social robot with emotion and the ability to remember and recall.
Working in partnership with their relatives or careers, the robot supports independent living for the elderly, the researchers noted.
The results demonstrated that a social robot can potentially help to prevent isolation and loneliness, offering stimulating activities whilst respecting autonomy and independence, the researchers from University of Hertfordshire in Britain added.
Senior lecturer Farshid Amirabdollahian led a team of nine partner institutions from across five European countries as part of a project called ACCOMPANY (Acceptable Robotics Companions for Ageing Years).
"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," Amirabdollahian said.
The robot uses a service platform called Care-O-bot 3 and works within a smart-home environment.
Over the past three years the project team carried out a wide range of studies which included, detecting the activity and status of people in a smart-home environment as well as focusing on robots’ ability to remember and recall.
Developments culminated into three interaction scenarios, which were subsequently evaluated by involving elderly people and their formal/informal carers across France, the Netherlands and Britain.