Competiton for The Japanese Robots to Help the Elderly, Stevie 11

Competiton for The Japanese Robots to Help the Elderly, Stevie 11

It is not just the Japanese that are developing robots to work in care homes or to live with the elderly and disabled people. Engineers at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland have developed a robot that will remind people when they need to take their medication and will talk to them, which can help to combat loneliness. This will be in direct competition with the Japanese who so far have lead the market in this area of robotics. Stevie 11 is an upgraded version of Ireland’s first robot to work in this way, and its advanced AI has resulted in it receiving a good reception from the residents of the care homes it was tested in.

One such resident, Tony McCarthy, said “I have asthma and he reminds me what medications I have to take. More importantly, the capacity the robot has to directly make a phone call to emergency services to bring help if a person is incapacitated, I think that is very positive. Especially for people who have a fall, and couldn’t reach their panic button, with Stevie, he would directly be able to call emergency services.”

Having A Chat with Stevie 11

The engineer behind the artificial intelligence used in robots such as Stevie 11 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. When we were testing the pilot, even from a technical background what I was doing a lot of the time was talking to people and trying to figure out what they wanted from the technology. In the future, I’d love to work on small talk with Stevie. It’s extremely difficult as it’s very context dependent, so I’d love to see Stevie develop that ability. We’d like him to be able to have some banter with people”.

Aging populations are a problem worldwide. As medicines improve the life expectancy of people, so there is more and more living in care homes or on their own. The biggest problem for them always is loneliness, as this can lead to depression and forgetfulness. Japan is leading the way with robots to help combat these problems, but Stevie 11 shows that Ireland is also very aware of the problem and is trying to do something about it.

Stevie 11 cannot only be company for the elderly or disabled and ensure they take the right medication at the correct time, but he can also be a help to the human carers because of the wide range of tasks he can complete. Couple this with the safety aspect of having a robot to watch over people for 24 hours a day and there is no doubt at all that as well as Ireland and Japan, developers in other countries will be introducing similar robots too.

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