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Software developed for robots to aid dementia patients


A group of Japanese developers has created software for robots that will monitor and help dementia patients in their daily lives, media reported Monday.

The application won the first app contest organised by Japanese telecommunications company Softbank, barely a few days before it begins selling its humanoid robot Pepper, the first robot capable of recognising human voices and reading the gestures and body language of human beings.

Project Team Dementia was named the winner from among the more than 100 applicants who participated in the contest held Sunday in Tokyo.

With the software, Pepper will be able to hold simple conversations with people suffering from dementia, urge them to wake up or take their medicines, and even inform the doctor via the internet of the number of pills taken by the patients.

The robot will also be able to notify patients when they receive an email and ask them questions about how old their grandchildren are to check if they correctly remember family-related information.

The winning team was awarded prize money of $8,400.

Softbank, that had pushed back the sale of Pepper due to excess demand from software developers, will begin commercial sales of 300 units of the popular robot only to developers from Friday at a price of $1,700.

Customers will also have to pay a monthly charge of around $200 for a three-year contract.

The charge includes a basic tariff of $125 for using the company’s cloud services.

The company also offers insurance at $82 per month for maintenance and discounts on repairs.