‘Emotional robot’ designed to serve people with dementia

Wellington: Japan-based company SoftBank Mobile has developed a new robot that can take care of people with dementia by recognising their emotions.

At Nishi-Koigakubo Ninjin Home, a special elderly nursing home in western Tokyo, an elderly dementia patients recently spent time with Pepper, a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence.

Said to be the world’s first robot designed to serve people by recognizing their emotions, Pepper is set to retail for 198,000 yen on the consumer market in February.

SoftBank Mobile hopes to develop its robot to act as a conversation partner for those suffering from dementia. During its visit, Pepper played a game and showed off its dancing skills, because of the installation of a prototype program.

To help prevent the condition of elderly patients from deteriorating to the point where they require nursing care, the firm hopes to give people more options than simply relying on efforts by the central and local governments.

The company plans to develop a program to provide better support for dementia patients, such as by adding a function to encourage the elderly to talk about their memories.


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