Robots in healthcare and therapy
While robot developers primarily focus on creating technology-mediated social, emotional, and cognitive rehabilitation and diversion for senior citizens and those with mild cognitive impairments, social robots can benefit other target groups as well. The Paro robot, for instance, is a seal-like robot that can detect when it is being touched or held and respond accordingly, and has been shown to have positive psychological, physiological, and social effects on elderly people. It is often used as a companion in care homes and can reduce feelings of loneliness and improve the quality of life for residents. Although Paro is available for home use in Japan, it is mainly purchased by healthcare institutions and companies in Europe and the United States. Robots can also serve as reminders for individuals to take their medication and can provide pre-clinic or teleclinic support, which can reduce the costs of medical services.
To learn more about the Paro robot click here:
Social robots are frequently designed and utilized for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), both children and adults. Research has shown that people with ASD tend to react positively to robots, and there is a significant amount of research exploring how robots can be employed to aid ASD therapy. Various kinds of robots have been employed in therapy to assist children with ASD, including humanoid robots like Kaspar and Nao, and zoomorphic robots like Elvis and Pleo. The consistency of robot behaviour and their impartiality are suggested as potential reasons why they are successful in interacting and intervening therapeutically with individuals with ASD. Robots are employed either as the focus of the interaction between therapist and patient, or to train and improve children’s social skills and emotional regulation and interpretation.
To learn more about social robots read more here:
The following video is based on a Yale study showing that robots helped children with ASD to improve their social skills:
Social robots are utilized for physical rehabilitation, which includes offering physiotherapy and providing encouragement and mental support. These robots have been proven effective in cardiac-focused rehabilitation by providing social facilitation and motivation during cardiac exercises. Moreover, robots can encourage individuals to adopt healthy habits or break unhealthy ones. The development of these devices is mainly the domain of mechatronics, but HRI plays a role in assessing the acceptance and usability of robotic prostheses.
To learn more about a robot that serves as a weight-loss coach read more here:
To learn more about a robot that supports children with diabetes read more here:
A video of a robotic exoskeleton used for rehabilitation:
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.