With an ageing population, intimacy for the eldery will become an evermore important topic for research. Animals have shown great promise in building valuable social relations, but live animals are not feasible in every context, such as care homes or hospitals. Therefore, research has been interested in robotic alternatives, devoid of issues such as allergies, hygiene concerns, risks of bites or scratches.
The most well researched companion robot is Paro the seal, reported to have benefits for older adults including reduced loneliness, depression, anxiety, agitation and a more adaptive stress response. However, Paro is unattainable for many care homes due to price (~€6000). Research is exploring if we can achieve similar benefits with more reasonably priced alternatives.
Therefore, Science Gallery Dublin invites you to come into the FOR PLAY gallery for a drop-in visit at any time between 11.00 and 19.00 on Friday 16th November. Take some time to pet the visiting robotics animals and explore the different types available, while providing researchers with important information about which you prefer and why.