Emotional Pet Robots Can Boost Health And Happiness Of The Elderly

By Donna Bellevue , Apr 21, 2017 06:00 AM EDT

Robot pets are now equipped with emotional capabilities like responsiveness to human touch and facial recognition. That's why they are gradually being introduced to nursing homes with lonely elderly. Scientists have predicted that these emotionally responsive animal-inspired robots are the future of elderly care.

Animatronics like pet robot dog MiRo, and pet robot cat Henry, are two of the world's first commercial biomimetic robots. This means that they are man made devices that mimic the nature of the animals they were inspired from.Both robots have been fitted with mini sensors so it can tell when it is being stroked or patted, and then give appropriate loving responses much to the delight of the elderly patient.

According to the Mirror Online, Miro is a robot pet which essentially provides emotional engagements to humans. It is designed to live among humans, and could also have a number of practical functions. Built by Consequential Robotics and the University of Sheffield, this robot is capable of recognizing people at the door or reminding its owner of diary events such health appointments.

Another noteworthy pet robot is the cat-inspired animatronic called Henry, which helps make incoherent elderly have clear cognition after stroking it for a while. According to The Star, the cat version of Hasbro's Joy for All Companion Pet could be purchased online for US$100. At Glen Meadows Retirement Community, Henry entertains Alzheimer patients with his furry figure, and friendly demeanor, making the elderly show more cheerful disposition.

Both emotional robots, MiRo and Henry, are designed to help elderly people who have cognitive difficulties or are lonely in their retirement years. The community centers for elderly that have recruited them are a few of the retirement communities in the world that have started incorporating robotics into elderly care. The practice is becoming more popular as data shows that robots can elicit the same warm fuzzy feelings we have for real pets without the everyday responsibilities of caring for them.

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