Successful trial of healthcare robots

  • 03/11/2015

Older New Zealanders could soon be benefiting from new technology after a successful trial of healthcare robots to help them around the home.

Robots have been used for three months by five elderly citizens in a study by Auckland University about their feasibility in the home, particularly in rural parts of the country.

Patients reported their cyborg served as good companions, with some saying they enjoyed hearing the hardware talk to them and remind them to take their medicines.

One person even said their robot felt like part of the family.

Study senior author Elizabeth Broadbent said the results suggested that healthcare robots could be a viable option for use in rural homes.

"Patients said that having the robot felt like they had a companion in the house and they didn't feel so alone," Dr Broadbent said.

"An unexpected finding was the robots blinking lights - the lights enhanced the robots social presence which was reassuring to patients and helped them see when the surroundings were dark late at night or in the morning."