London: Researchers, including one of Indian origin, are developing social humanoid robots with cultural awareness and good bedside manners which could help care for the elderly and patients. The robots will offer support with everyday tasks like taking medicines as well as offering companionship, alleviating pressure on care homes and hospitals.
The culturally sensitive robots may be developed within three years, researchers said. Researchers from Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire in the UK will assist in building the personal social robots, known as Pepper Robots, which can be pre-programmed to suit the person they are helping.
“Assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressures in hospitals and care homes as well as improving care delivery at home and promoting independent living for the elderly,” Irena Papadopoulos, expert in trans-cultural nursing, said.
“It is not a question of replacing human support but enhancing and complementing existing care,” said Papadopoulos.
Pepper Robots are manufactured by Softbank Robotics and already used in thousands of homes in Japan, ‘BBC News’ reported.
According to Amit Kumar Pandey, the company’s chief scientist, the firm wanted to create a world where robots co-exist with humans in harmony, for a smarter, healthier, safer and happier life. The robots will communicate through speech and with gestures, move independently and pick up signs whether the elderly person is unwell or in pain. It is hoped the new robots will help improve the well-being of their charges by providing entertainment and enabling them to connect better, through smart appliances, with family and the outside world.